Keith Ball Moves on to Fiddlers Green

Posted on July 24, 2016


Cavalier 6

Cavalier 6

Keith and Betty Ball

Keith and Betty Ball

Keith E. Ball passed away on July 21, 2016. As a Major, Keith was the  Charlie Troop Commander from December 4, 1970 to May 10, 1971.  Keith passed away as a result of Open Heart Surgery. He left behind his wife and the love of his life, Betty, and his daughter Penne , Pamela and two sons Timothy and Thomas. Keith was loved by his natural Family as well as his Charlie Troop Family. Keith will never be forgotten. Below is a note by Penne as to what happened. It is easy to tell by this that she loved her Father very very much.

So I was at daddy’s first meeting with his cardiac thoracic surgeon.  He didn’t think daddy was a candidate for Open Heart surgery but he’d run the test on him to see if he passed.  Much to everyone’s surprise he passed every test and he was a go.  I had a bad feeling and daddy asked my brother and Hugh if he should have it.  Tim’s a PhD molecular biologist and they talked about the risks as did the surgeon.  The Dr’s office gave daddy a huge pamphlet to read about it and he studied it closely.  He read that thing several times a day for days.  He got everything in order to help for the couple 2 or 3 months he’d be out of commission.  He wanted mother totally taken care of.  We arranged how we were going to care for her for at least two months.  (Mother requires 24/7 help & daddy has been her total provider with minimal help from myself). The closer the surgery got daddy started asking Tim if he should have it.  Timmy talked to him more about the entire situation.  Daddy had been having his PSA rise and they changed his meds.  They knew the cancer was there somewhere they just didn’t know where.  As well, his bp was very high in the 190’s and 210 over the 90’s and he was afraid he’d h ave a stroke or major heart attack.  Even on bp meds he still had high bp.  Just walking the trash out he’d have to stop half way and take a rest.  The day of the surgery all the way to the hospital Tim kept asking if it’s what he really wanted to do. Daddy said yes and that he wanted to give himself a chance to take care of mother for a long time.

When he went under his bp was high at 210 and when they put him on the heart / lung machine his bp went down to about 100.  This is where the problem was occurring but nobody knew it.  During the 5 hours on the machine he apparently had a blockage in an artery that led to his intestines.  When the bp was high, the pressure was forcing the blood through the blockage but when it dropped, now the pressure isn’t great enough to force it through that blockage and so some tissue in the intestines was deprived of oxygen for 5 plus hours.  His caused some tissue, probably a lot, to die.  Over 24 hours it starts getting infected and the intestines start swelling and the abdomen bloating. The kidneys started failing and things just went down hill very rapidly.  They just did not know this was happening.  Even when he started having low bp and rapid heart rate and respiration they thought maybe he was having a hard time processing the morphine etc.  Once he coded and they put a respirator on him they saw blood in the stomach and so they called in a crew to take him to the OR and open him back up and see what was going on.  Thinking perhaps a possible pulmonary embolism. Before all that could happen he coded four times and each time they got a heart beat back.  They told us that pretty much never happens.  Once inside they knew it wasn’t the heart or the repairs they’d done nor was it a PE.  The surgeon called in a gastro surgeon and a general surgeon.  They talked about everything they could do or not do.  In the mean time t he kidneys began failing and the heart stopped even on the machine but they restarted it yet again.  The surgeon kept coming in to talk to us and he told us daddy was going to die today and it was a matter of a few hours at most.  He wanted to leave him open because the lungs and heart were swollen now and put a patch over him but leave him on the machine so the family could say goodbye. I choose to leave because I knew I’d already said my goodbye at 1:15am.  Hugh and I were the last ones to see him and talk to him while he was even slightly responsive. We prayed over him holding his hands and we felt him during the prayer relax and the whole room just felt a peace come over it.  I gave him a big hug and kiss and just messaged as much of his body as I could.  I rubbed his back and shoulders, legs and feet and ran my fingers through his hair several times.  Held his hands and just talked to him also calling on Cavalier 6 to fight.  And boy did he!  A gun fighter to the very end!  In the end he died peacefully. I’m thankful he went down fighting and didn’t suffer anymore than he did during the 48 hours from the time they started his initial surgery.

He loved you all and so do I!  Thank y’all for all your kind words!

On October 20, 2016 Betty Ball passed away. She is now in Fiddler Green with her True Love, Keith.

Tom and Karen Betts said: A beautiful tribute to a great man by a loving daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved family and friends.

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