Published November 9, 2013 by rochellewisoff

             A few days ago I managed to burn the roof of my mouth on a baked potato. Please don’t ask for details, it’s embarrassing. If that’s not bad enough, the burn turned into rather nasty aphthous stomatitis. Mouth ulcer.

            By Friday I couldn’t eat, because the tiniest nick caused so much pain I wanted cut off my head. After getting my boss’ okay to leave the bakery early I went to a close-by pharmacy with an urgent care.


            This particular store refers to this as a “minute clinic.” There I waited over two hours to be seen by the solitary, overtaxed nurse practitioner.


            “Why am I seeing you today?”


            “My mouth hurts.”


            While she entered my particulars into her data base, I went on to explain how I’d injured myself and how much it hurt. 


            What I expected next was that she would look at my poor mangled mouth, write a prescription and send me to the pharmacy counter to have it filled. And, of course, that’s not what happened.


            She had to take my vitals.


            “Blood pressure is a little high, but pain will do that.”


            Then she listened to my heart for a full minute.


            “Have you had heart problems?”




            “Your heart rate is too low. It’s between 40 and 44.”


            “I work out. It’s always been low.”


            “This is dangerously low.”


            After scaring me into thinking I would soon be corpse du jour, she informed me that she was sending me to ER and no way would she allow me to drive.


            “Do you have dizziness or pain.”


            “Yes. I haven’t eaten all day because my mouth hurts.”

            “I’m more concerned for your heart. They will give you lidocaine at the hospital.”


            At her insistence I called my husband to share my news. I could hear the controlled terror in his voice. Then I sat for another forty minutes until he arrived. He took me to the hospital close to our house. Another forty minutes of evening wasted. 


            “You feeling okay, honey,” he asked.



            “No. I’m starving and my mouth hurts.”


            When we reached the ER, I was quickly ushered to an examination room, changed out of my icing-crusted uniform into one of those famed hospital numbers of song and story.


            This time the nurse hooked me up to a heart monitor, automatic sphygmomanometer and stuck little rubber contacts all over me to prepare for an EKG. Then the interrogation began.


            “What meds are you taking? Any allergies?”


            I answered each question to the best of my ability. Then the doctor came in and asked more questions.


            “Are you having any pain?

            “My mouth hurts.”


            By then, I’d played “Who’s on First, What’s on Second” with at least four professionals.


            The doctor shined her little flashlight in my open mouth. “Yep. I advise using Anbesol. I don’t have any so you’ll have to go to Walmart.”


            Then she told me she was going to hook me up to an IV, take some blood and check my electrolytes.


            The whole ordeal took another two hours culminating with the doctor telling me everything looked great and that I just have a low heart rate.


            “I’m sending you home.”


            As the nurse wrapped up the visit she asked me if I had any pain.


            “My mouth hurts.”


  • Dear Rochelle,

    Well, at least you didn’t go to the ‘hour clinic’. I’ll say I do but I’m glad I don’t ‘feel your pain’.

    Get well soon. Oh, and next time, cook your potato in the refrigerator.




    • Dear Doug,

      I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone I care about. My worst enemy maybe.

      I’ve never tried cooking a potato in the refrigerator. Why don’t you try it and tell me how it works for you. 😉




  • Guess your medicine cabinet will be forever stocked with Anbesol from this day forward! Even though it was an ordeal, it’s good to know they erred on the side of caution and at the end of the (very long) day, you are a-okay. 🙂


    • Dear Michelle,

      The story has a happy ending and will get happier as my mouth heals. I certainly had some sweaty palm moments when I thought I might be going to that big writing desk in the sky sooner than planned.




  • I’m speechless but I shouldn’t be surprised. That is why healthcare is so expensive. When you get that hospital bill, see if you can bring a legal case against the preparer of the bake potato. Maybe after you pay the legal bills, you’ll have enough to pay the hospital bill. Did the ambesol help your mouth? Hope you feel better.


    • Dear Maryann,

      I fear I don’t have a legal leg to stand on. I’m the one who baked the dastardly potato. Yes, the Ambesol helps for fifteen minutes at a time. This, too, shall pass.

      Your comments gave my sore mouth a reason to smile.




  • I got food poisoning once and after kneeling in front of the toilet for much too long, we went to the emergency room. They told me they didn’t have a bed, so i should wait. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And finally went into the bathroom, threw up once more and knew I was OK. So we just left. No charge, fortunately.



  • Just for your further information, Rochelle, the liquid ionic silver is particularly good for burns of any kind. It is all natural and is an amazing antibiotic/anti-viral agent. Physicians used to use it all the time for all kinds of injuries and infections before they came up with all these chemically produced “wonder drugs.” I use two different brands: Water Oz and SilverBiotics. You can find either one of them online or at any natural health doctor. They are good to use topically and internally. You can just hold some in your mouth for quite a while, and it helps heal the wound itself, plus drinking it lets it work internally to destroy any infection.


  • Rocks, So sorry to read about your frustrating ordeal. Hope all is better, now. Can’t wait to hear all the details at lunch on Tuesday. Good energy to you along with happy healing.


  • Poor Rochelle! This sound pretty awful… yes, a perfect who’s on 1st skit, but very painful! There is an amazing product that you can find at a pharmacy– it’s a liquid bandage for the mouth. It’s made for canker sores, so perfect for your situation. You paint it on, and it provides a barrier between your ulcer and anything else. Works wonders! I don’t have the name handy, but ask at the pharmacy. Hope it gets better soon, but I know these mouth things tend to linger… 😦


  • Thanks for brightening my Sunday morning! I too am prone to burning my mouth. My dentist once asked me if I came from a large family… I didn’t get it for a moment.

    Hope your mouth doesn’t hurt now… 🙂


  • Sorry to hear about your sore mouth.

    Sounds like the medical professionals were causing a pain in the ass too.

    Here in tropical England, we have the NHS service. Over worked, under paid, under resourced and under funded health service that is free to all UK citizens and paid for through tax payers. I received some post from them the other day. It was a leaflet that had in big writing, “If you have blood in your pee, see a doctor.” Great thanks for that. It really wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise!

    Funny post though, get well soon!


  • Ah, I feel your frustration. I’ve had those runarounds with doctors before. My wife had numbness in her foot so the doctor did a test of nerve sensitivity on various parts of her body but not her foot and then told her there was nothing wrong with her. That took a while to sort out and never did get satisfactorily resolved.

    I hope your mouth gets better soon. Nothing I hate worse than mouth ulcers.


    • Dear Dave.

      I’ll probably try to get in to see my doctor today or sometime this week.She already knows I have a low heart rate. I was just into see her a couple of weeks ago for a badly pulled muscle. I feel like a walking train wreck, but this ulcer is going into extra innings.

      Thanks for commenting and caring.




      • Without going into details…there isn’t a test for lactose intolerance. So you really need to know yourself and your children. Too many specialists who only have maybe 15 minutes to understand months or years of issues and not really consulting with the other doctors in their own office gets to be rather trying on ones nerves. While I suppose I still have faith in modern medicine what I don’t have faith in is the rush to diagnose and medicate as well as the rush to extract payment due. But I suppose that’s another story all together 🙂

        Big issue in the paper about re-admissions in hospitals after surgery due to doctor and staff error.


    • Dear Madison,

      Honestly by the last hour of it, I was not only hungry and in pain, I was freezing in that open-air number and angry. It was all so absurd I had to write about it.
      Going to try to see my doctor this week. The past two nights have been fitful. Hope it’s better by the time I see you Friday 😉




  • Hi Rochelle,
    I’m sorry for your pain. I can never understand why the medical profession is so disconnected. If there is one industry that should have all of its ducks in place, it’s the health care industry. But there is one positive. You got a great blog post out of this. Hope you heal fast and are eating ravenously soon. Ron


    • Dear Ron,

      Well, I’m eating gingerly and applying plenty of Ambesol in between. To be fair, the nurse was going on what she knows and covering her own tush. A heart rate of 40 is pretty low. I once had a trainer describe my heart rate as “one beat per day” and another doctor telling me if it were someone else he’d have me in ER for shock.

      But it was all so frustrating. Mouth still hurts a lot. And the positive is the fodder for the blog. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. 😀




  • I was just wondering how you were feeling today? What you went through was worse than the burn I’m sure. Good thing it wasn’t your fingers… we need them safe so you can type! I imagine your husband is having a nice quiet restful Sunday. See you Wed.


  • That was one hot potato, and quite an ordeal over a mouth sore, but at least you got your heart checked out, which I can understand their concern there, but still no excuse for overlooking your hurting mouth. 🙂 And then for a questionable clinic to send you to Walmart for an over the counter remedy they should have carried.


    • Dear Joyce,

      The heart rate was no big surprise, although I can understand the concern from someone who isn’t familiar with my history.

      Actually it was the hospital, not the clinic that didn’t have the OTC remedy.

      I hope to get in to see my primary care doc this week. Meanwhile the pain rages on.

      Thanks for dropping by.




  • Poor Rochelle, did you get some medicine for your mouth? Do you have some relief now? I think that’s why people go for over the counter medicine sometimes. This post is a very good read as if some drama was going on in the hospital.


    • Dear Indira,

      I saw my regular doctor yesterday. I gave her printed copy of this story and she laughed. She pretty much dubbed the ER people idiots. She doused my wounds with silver nitrate and gave me some prescriptions. She couldn’t believe that in 6 hours of being sent from clinic to ER that no one addressed the pain in my mouth.

      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked it. I couldn’t help but see the absurdity of it all and writing humor is fun.




    • Dear Honie,

      Thankfully we have Tri Care insurance since my husband is retired military. One has to wonder about the clinic and ER. Perhaps it was a slow evening. Non-treatment for sure. My doctor read the above story, laughed and shook her head. She couldn’t believe that no one bothered to address the real problem.

      The true punchline for the evening was the hand out they gave me as we left ER:

      -Your symptoms are so severe that you cannot eat or drink.”

      Hello? Isn’t that what started this nightmare of mishegass in the first place?




  • Hope you are healing well. Wait times in our emergency walk-ins are approx. 29 hours for non-life threatening. you have plenty of time to spread or catch whatever is floating around in there.


  • Terrible. Ionicsilver is good in the long term and you need long term healing too, to heal the scar tissue – that is absolutely vital to not let anything else develop.These kind of procedures is what makes planes crash if it is pilots doing them – going through meticulous checklists instead of staring at the problem straight on. At least they asked questions – here in Finland it’s “what’s wrong?” ..”oh, take this, bye.”
    Flly to France Rochelle…will take the same time!, Really very good there, and that time wasted sounds awful. I’d seen tons of doctors regarding one of my children’s persistent hacking cough and inability to breathe for months, who wanted everything tested, and antibiotics thrown down throats. A doctor there solved things with salt spray and a chat about child development, and rugby to me.


    • Dear Managua,

      Thanks for swinging by. I’ve always wanted to see France.;)

      I did get in to see my doctor Monday and she swabbed my mouth with silver nitrate, then gave me prescription for an antibiotic and some cream for the lesion. It’s getting better and I will be so glad when the pain goes away.

      She was incredulous over the lack of treatment I received and laughed at my printed copy that I gave her of the above story…which is not at all fiction, I might add.

      Thanks again,




  • This hit home for me. I’ve always had a notoriously low heart rate as well, even though I’m not in shape (unless you count “round” as a shape). Unless you vitals fit in their little bucket that they consider “normal” expect to be run through the mill–that is, if you have good insurance.


    • Dear Russell,

      Again, it was really good to see you this past weekend. Hope you had a great time at Chuckie Cheese and came away with your sanity in tact.

      I’ve had other experiences where I didn’t fit the mold. It really throws them off when you don’t follow the text book. I for one was never good with text books. 😉

      Thanks for commenting and in-person hugs.




  • I also have a low heart rate, although I am not in great shape, so it doesn’t go into the fourties except when I am sleeping.

    A few years ago I got vertigo. Since it started on a carnival ride I knew it was an inner ear thing, but they have treatments for that now so I mentioned it to my doctor.

    I got caught in the same routine you did. Light headed + low heart rate means you have a heart problem. Everything from blood draws to a stress test. At the end of which the doctor proclaimed the good news. Nothing was wrong with my heart, I just has a slow heart rate.

    We already knew that, and besides I was still dizzy. At which point I was told, “Oh, that will probably go away on its own.”


  • My family’s been in and out of ERs, as well as to minute clinics which don’t take minutes to bring relief for whatever ails you. Your misadventures, however, sounds like a comedy of errors, except for the tragedy that is your…still ailing mouth. Hope better comes sooner, rather than later. hugs…


    • Dear Millie,

      At least, after the minute clinic, I was taken right away in ER….for what that was worth. 😉 EKG and heart anything are golden tickets. Happily my mouth is getting better…finally. But I won’t soon forget this experience nor will I allow the opportunity for a good laugh pass me by. Thanks for the hugs.




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