Friday, August 2, 2013

Clearing things up...

I didn't mean to sound like a bully.  I DON'T want to punch anyone in the face. At least now that Kourtni has a clean bill of health.  It's funny the emotions that you go through when a loved one is faced with a serious illness.  My emotions were frustration, frustration, and more frustration, oh, and punching someone sounded nice too.  (I kid!)

After Kourtni's release from the hospital in December, she didn't heal.  The drains that were put in to take away all the gunk from inside, did their job, but made her skin weak and it started to leak where the drain sites had been.  She leaked and leaked and leaked out of those sites.  We went through gauze and tape like we had stock in Johnson and Johnson.  We took her to the doctor again and they tried various modalities to decrease the leaking.   Finally it was determined that she would need to have another surgery to cut out the tissues that were not healing in her abdomen and place her on a wound vacuum to encourage healing of the area.

She was a trooper.

Another surgery and another thing to have to stick to her ravaged belly.  The wound vacuum was her constant companion.  It was basically a pump that had plastic tubing attached to it and it would "suck" out any of the blood, infection, or general gunk that you get after surgery out of her wound.  She would carry the vacuum like a purse and the constant hum of this machine would lull anyone around her to sleep. Her wound was the size of a deodorant cap.  Yep, a hole in her belly that went through multiple layers of skin and muscle.  Thanks to the AWESOME people at the Elk's Rehabilitation Center, Kourtni was on the road to complete recovery.  Until she developed a severe reaction to the tape that was holding the wound vacuum to her skin.  She had to take a break from the vac and that meant a slow down in healing.  When it was determined that she would no longer be able to use the wound vac because of her extreme sensitivity and reaction, we were advised that she would need to have another surgery to close up the wound.

Another surgery.

This one would be quick, easy, and done on the same day.  Which it was.  Kourtni was through the worst of her ordeal and, although she woke up terrified that she had another drain attached to her, this final surgery did the trick.
Today Kourtni has a totally clean bill of health.  She was able to catch up on all the school work she missed.  She went to her senior prom.  She was crowned prom queen.  She graduated from high school in May.  She'll be going to BYU in a couple of weeks, and she and I have matching lower belly scars, but mine are from 4 babies and hers is from a volleyball sized abscess resulting from an emergency appendectomy on 12/12/12.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's a "Waiting Game" and I don't want to play anymore

I just spent an hour recapping the ordeal Kourtni went through from December to March.  But my computer - or maybe it was me - has decided to delete all that I typed.

Luckily, I found this draft that pretty much summed up my feelings as we were ending our stay at the hospital over the Christmas break:

Have you ever wanted to punch someone right in the face?

That's how I'm feeling right now and the recipient of said punch would definitely be: "Dr. Evil".  The doctor who has been "taking care" of Kourtni Rae this week.

She has been about as helpful and doctorly as the guy who works at Maverick.

She has the bedside manner of an awkward zookeeper.

She has the communication skills of an onery baby.

She has the tactfulness of, well, you get my drift.

All week long we've waited for her to come in and give us an update.  We've waited for her to give us some semblance of good news.  We've waited for her to quit being so vague and elusive about Kourtni's progress.  We've waited and waited and waited, and now, this morning, I'm ready to punch her in the face for making us WAIT.SO.LONG to get any kind of answer to our questions!


I'm quickly, and not so quietly, going stir crazy sitting in this hospital room waiting for the nurse to come and clean up the mess(es) she(they) have made this entire week.  It's been an eye-opening experience to have your temporary home in a cramped hospital room.  We've made it cozy for Kourtni. She has flowers, balloons, pictures on the door, 2 Christmas trees, a family member in the room at all times, and many, many visitors.

Yep, that pretty much sums up the feelings of being in the hospital for 9 days.

The only thing is, I'm over wanting to punch her in the face.  I just want her to retire!

More updates later man.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

They say things come in threes...

It started out as a typical Sunday: get ready for church, go to church, come home, fix dinner, eat dinner, do homework, go to bed.  For Kourtni Rae there was a hiccup between "go to church" and "fix dinner".  Replace it with "eat a bunch on Pringles during the young women's portion of church and feel sick for the rest of the day".  She came home, got rid of those dastardly Pringles via the porcelain throne, and went to bed for the rest of the day.  Poor girl ~ we thought it was the flu coming on strong.  She stayed home from school on Monday and had a really bad tummy ache.  This continued Tuesday, but the pain had increased dramatically and the only comfortable place was on the hard floor of the bathroom.  I used hot moist towels to attempt to calm the pain in her abdomen, but it offered little relief.  Ibuprofen had been her friend since Sunday and I was really not too happy to continue to give it to her.  I did though ~ her pain was much too intense not to.  Wednesday came and I called our family doctor.  We got her in that afternoon but the doctor said her pain was very inconsistent with flu symptoms.  She gingerly pressed on Kourtni's abdomen (this HURT), she had her hop on one foot (this HURT), and she told us that we needed to get a scan of her belly to rule appendicitis out.  

Alarm set in.  
I thought she had the flu. 
(Insert Mom of the Year award).
She had the cat scan after downing an enormous amount of diet 7up with medicine in it.  An hour later, we were headed to the hospital to have emergency appendectomy surgery.  I was surprised at how calm I was and how everything simply fit together to ensure my classroom and my other 2 children were taken care of.  The way people rallied together for us was phenomenal and has taught me more about compassion and service than I thought I already knew.

At 8:30 she was taken to the O.R. and, in typical Kourtni fashion, and with a few drugs in her system, she was joking around with the nurse anesthetist and radiologist as we parted ways.  An hour later, the surgeon came into the waiting room and informed us that she had a perforated appendix and that it had ruptured 2 days before.  

Applause all around for the Mom of the Year!!!

We ended up staying from Wednesday to Friday in the hospital while she received intravenous antibiotics and recovered from the trauma of a perforated appendix.  She was literally overwhelmed with the number of people who came to visit her and deliver her goodies.  It was very kind and we were very grateful for the support shown by so many of our friends.

Upon discharge from the hospital I was shown the correct way to empty the drain tube that was attached to her insides and carried out the gunk from her abdomen.  Piece of cake!  My status of failed Mother of the Year was gradually creeping back to a good status...But don't get excited and happy yet. (That was an example of foreshadowing.)

On Tuesday, I took her to the surgeon's office where the drain was pulled.  Yep.  Literally pulled out of her.  Don't worry.  She had deep breaths to help her.  (Yikes)  We went home and Kourtni was feeling much better to have her little "friend" safely in the garbage can at the medical office.  

On Wednesday, I let Lindsay stay home from school to keep an eye on Kourtni.  When I got home that afternoon, what did my eyes behold, but my stove in the middle of the garage!  What the... 
I raced inside to see what was going on and a horrible smell met my nose.  It was an acrid smell of soot, ash, and burned food.  I went into panic mode (typical for me), and quickly found out that the girls were ok, but, due to my inattention to stove cleanliness, the cookies Lindsay had been baking had caught on fire while being baked in a dirty oven.  

(Not only do I get the Mother of the Year award but Martha Stewart called and wants me to work for her...)  

The fire department had to be called and not one, but THREE fire trucks were dispatched to our home, as well as every neighbor who was home and had ears to hear the loud wails of the fire trucks.  The girls were OK, but they were shaken up a bit and will probably learn a valuable lesson about keeping their future kitchens clean.

When Alyssa came home on Thursday, Kourtni wasn't doing too well.  She couldn't keep anything down and was in severe abdominal distress.  I basically told her to suck it up and be positive about getting better.  Attitude is everything, right?  (Even when you're in extreme distress and uncontrolled pain and nausea???)  She couldn't keep down her meds, didn't have any appetite, couldn't find a comfortable position, and was basically a miserable young lady.  I made several calls to my PA brother-in-law and to the doctor on call.  My brother-in-law was helpful.  The doctor on call was definitely NOT.  We got a prescription for nausea meds the next day, but they wouldn't stay down and were of no help in Kourtni's nausea at all.  By Saturday, she was in so much pain and discomfort that we decided to take her to the ER.  Her stomach was hard and distended and she looked like she could have been about 4 or 5 months pregnant.  Right then and there, we loaded up and headed to the hospital.

After sitting in the hospital room on some less-than-pain-killing drugs, Kourtni had yet another CAT scan and what the results showed definitely made me the Pullitzer Prize winning, Nobel award recipient, Grammy nominated, Emmy Award winning Mother of the Year!  

My dear sweet 17 year old formerly totally healthy daughter had a volleyball sized abscess in her pelvis.  

(I would like to thank all those who made this award possible:   The inattentive doctor on call, the nurse who told Kourtni not to "chop wood" when she went home, and the lack of information the hospital gave us when we were released last Friday.  Thank you.  Thank you.) 

An emergency procedure would need to be performed.  One that would help drain the huge abscess and help her feel some relief.  To perform this procedure, Kourtni would need to be inserted into the CAT scan machine while the radiologist looked at the x-ray.  He would then find an air pocket in her belly, make an X on her skin, make an incision on the X, position the largest tube drain he had and insert the tube into her belly.  Voila!  750cc (that's a liter, people) of pus and blood immediately exited her pelvis and gave her ravaged body a bit of relief.  There was so much infection in her belly that it had displaced her uterus and bladder.

The sugicalist - that's a doctor, folks...  Told us to expect her to stay in the hospital for  5 days.  That meant that we would be in the hospital over Christmas.  The kids were disappointed that their sister would have to be away from home and that the preparations and traditions we had made for Christmas, wouldn't be happening this year.  Those feelings quickly went away when we realized how lucky we were to have Kourtni's pain diagnosed and hopefully fixed with her on the road to recovery.

This Christmas was a bit different than all the past 23 Christmases we've enjoyed as a family.  We made it work, however.  Flying Pie delivers!  Alyssa went grocery shopping for us!  Friends visited!  Our Christmas will be delayed this year until we can get Kourtni well enough to go home.  Hopefully that won't be too long now, but, appendixes are real bitties and they leave a nasty legacy in their absence. 

Merry Christmas from St. Luke's Hospital!  Enjoy a few pictures of our Holiday Season:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

That @#$%& Tooth!

Besides the normal fun, laziness, trips, and leisure that the summer brings with it, this summer has also been...

 (cue oppressive music. DUN DUN DUN...)

The summer of THE TOOTH.
My tooth.
My very back bottom molar tooth.
I think the dentist likes to call it #18.  I'll call her "Pearl".
I've become very attached to her and she really makes chewing food enjoyable.

You see, Pearl has a mind of her own.  She has a serious condition that the dental community likes to call "Internal Resorption".  
Yikes.  Sounds kind of scary.  
Yeah, it is kind of scary.  

This tooth of mine that I've had in my mouth for around 33 years has decided that she wants to "eat herself" from the inside out.
That's not good, people.  Not good at all.  

It means that my beloved tooth will eventually be a hollow shell of herself.  

And that's not good, people.  Not good at all.  

Because, you need that very back molar.  And if it's a hollow shell it's not good for much of anything. (Except for chipping and falling out of my mouth like little broken pieces of chalk.) yuck. 

(Cue violin music playing "My Heart Bleeds for You.")

Long story short, I went to the dentist, had to go to an endodontist, went back to the endodontist, had a partial root canal with lots and lots of numbing novacaine, was saddened to hear that my tooth wouldn't be able to be saved (GASP), got another opinion from another dentist, and still another opinion from another dentist (Thanks, Nick :)), had my partial root canal finished, and now, I'm waiting for "Pearl" to stop being a spoiled rotten brat.  Yep, she's killing me.  Giving me jawaches, pain, headaches, and overall discomfort.  Where.Is.The.Love?  We've been together for 33 years!  

I'll show her though.  I'll go back in to the dentist, get numb AGAIN, receive my treatment, have her ground down to a nub, and get a beautiful, gleaming, shiny, porcelain crown veneer.  That no one can see.  Because it's in the far recesses of my mouth.  Sheesh.  

I think I'll name her "Cubic Zirconium."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Easter Ball Babies

It's just Payton and me tonight.  The girls and Bill have gone to play like they are homeless about 1.5 hours away.  (AKA Camping)  Blechy.Yucky.No-thank-you-very-much.  Oh, well, Pate and I weren't invited anyway since this camp out was only for fathers and daughters.  

Typical for Payton and me when we are by ourselves, we head on over to The Sizzler and grab us up some overpriced grub.  He: the steak and unlimited, deep fried, minuscule, baby shrimp complete with fries, his beloved cheese toast, and a frosty Dr. Pepper.  Me: the salad bar of course.  Tonight I was definitely tempted to snag an avocado or two and plant them in my purse for future guac, but I resisted and just went with my three platefuls of salad.  Yep, 3 I tell you.  Surprisingly delicious, this trip with minimum Nascar loving, plaid flannel shirt wearing, tattoo commenting, lumberjack looking patrons.

Aaaaanyway, on with the updating.  Heaven knows I'm doing this for my family's benefit so I need to keep documenting and writing my rememberings down for future Ball's!

Easter this year was a vast improvement from previous years. I actually went to the store, bought a variety of candy, purchased small gifts for each child, and put everything out for display on the kitchen table Easter morning.  What?  I know that's what your typical Easter entails, but for some reason, Easter always creeps up on me and before I know it, there are only circus peanuts and peachy rings as the candies of choice.  And, hey, at least I didn't just buy each kid a bag of candy and call it good like in 2009.  (Still trying to forget that year...)

I always feel guilty taking pictures without Lyss.  I hate to be Lyss-less!

Haha, not sure what we're doing in this one, but my fingers usually smell really good.

Putting your hand above the subject in a photo is a an old photography trick. 
 Um, yeah, it really isn't.

Kourtni and Padre.

Lindsay and Daddy.

Payton and Dad.

It was a beautiful spring morning on which to remember the atonement of, and worship our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still Catching Up

What's up with all the chairs you might wonder?  Well, Bill was out of town for the week so I naturally had to do my nightly routine which included 4 kitchen chairs and most of the doors in our home.  
Ain't no big thang.

Nervous at night much?
Yep, that'd be me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's New With The Ball Babies

It's been awhile since this busy momma has posted any goings on around here.  Not much has happened but I guess what has happened should be documented even if I am the only one who writes and reads it. Hah.  

So get ready for some plain old, hum drum, normal activities that encompass our plain old lives! 

This good looking kid has a mouthful of trouble.  *sigh*
He's missing 6 permanent teeth and this brings a whole set of problems to his little old mouth.  
First line of business:  get braces on those chompers.  
Second line of business:  move his jaw forward so the little baby teeth that are still hanging on by a thread, can have less wear and tear on them.
Third line of business:  Well, right now we're still on the second line.  Flippers, implants, etc. will have to come later.  
Another *sigh*.

Pretty cute still, huh? 

This picture is minus the robotic arms that the ortho used to bring the lower jaw forward. Oy.

A milkshake always makes things feel better.  Especially one from the Big Bun.  Creamy deliciousness.  I told myself I couldn't have one until I get braces!

Something else that's new:  
We have a 17 year old in the house.  A silly, sweet, sunny, second daughter who livens our lives and makes us smile on a daily basis.  
In the words of Kourtni, 

Chowing down for some birthday grub at Carino's.
We left fat and happy!

Even though Alyssa was busy being a college student and couldn't join us in person, I wore her amazing scarf she made for me so she could be in the picture in spirit. Isn't it adorable?  Can't believe she has my genes in her somewhere...

Something else that's new:  
We went to Utah for Spring Break.  
"Hey, that's not new!",
 you might be saying,
 "You've bored us with your Spring Break posts for the past couple of years!"
To which I reply, 
"But the kids have all gotten gigantic! That's new!"
Weak sauce.
Oh, well!

See what I mean about gigantic?  It takes two teen agers to hold Bryton!

But only one Payton to hold him.  

Looks of awe and amazement at the birthday cake before them!

Grandma's house filled with cousins is THE BEST!

My little buddy!
And all my "new" wrinkles!  Joy.

Hadley taking after her talented mother!

My mother stranded on the side of the road with a huge spike lodged in her tire.  Yikes.  Thank goodness for the promptness of the Utah Department of Transportation!

That's it for part one.  
Stay tuned for more plain old ordinary happenings in our life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Out of the mouths of first grade babes...

"Mrs. Ball, you look like you've been in jail for a couple of days."

Um, yeah, that's what I get for wearing stripes to school. And FYI, my little first grade babe, prisoners wear ORANGE jumpsuits, not stripes anymore. So there.
(I love him anyway.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Why is it that I cannot bring myself to delete certain pictures off my camera? Sheesh. I go to take a picture and my crappy little camera tells me "not enough memory space".

Well, that's a new one. Duh.

There would be way more space if I'd take off my pictures of Hawaii, (especially the first class picture of Bill and me on the plane...I look so tan. Wow.) or those pics of Lindsay's birthday way back in August. Maybe if I'd download our Christmas pictures or the traditional midnight picture on New Year's Eve. Maybe if I'd get rid of all those photos of my cute little firsties from school. Hmmmm. Kourtni's birthday is next and, yep, you guessed it, still in the camera.

I know, I'm a mess. A lazy yet busy mess. Too busy with school and church; then when I have some downtime I'm too lazy to do anything tech-ie but stalk some blogs and check out some statuses. I guess that could account for the lack of posting and pictur"ing" on this little blog. *sigh*

For now, you can enjoy the few pictures that are actually downloaded to my computer but still enjoyed by myself when I turn on my camera.

Nope, can't let that one go to cyber heaven.

What is it about a family of feet that I just cannot get rid of?

Oh, yeah, and then there's Vegas. Definitely keeping-in-the-camera-worthy.

Any time I can be reminded of a beach, I'm all over it.

Too cute to get rid of.

See, there's proof my daughters have amazing cherry stem-tying abilities!

Nope, can't let this one go.

Just look at those lashes, and that profile, and those earrings, and...

She won that pie. Proud mama moment that I have to remember.

OK, so I did download a couple of Christmas pictures. That's because I only took a couple of Christmas pictures...

Told you it was my fave...