When it comes to moving mountains, Newport mayor Connie Ball has much on his plate: create jobs, recruit business and industry, manage traffic flow and upgrade library facilities. This is in addition to his other roles as substitute teacher, school bus driver and reserve deputy.
One thing NOT on his mayoral agenda, however, is moving fountains. After all, those are much harder to move. The 63-year-old mayor discovered just that last June when his wife Marsha, who had undergone extensive hernia surgery just months earlier, asked him to move a ceramic water fountain at their home.
“I guess it had two or three gallons of water in it and weighed about 100 pounds,” Ball recounted. “So I just picked it up and moved it two or three feet, and when I did, I felt something pop.”
That “pop,” a telltale sign that the contents of Ball’s abdomen had just pushed through a weakened area of his lower abdominal wall, confirmed what he had suspected for at least two months: a hernia on the right side of his groin.
“Even before this, I was considering going to the doctor to get it checked, but there was no bulge or anything,” said Ball, a retired principal now in his third term and 10th year as mayor. “I was just noticing some pain and a little discomfort on the right side, and I’m always picking up heavy things. I went to the restroom and checked myself and there it was – a bulge that wasn’t there that morning. I thought, ‘Well, that’s been a hernia to start with and I have finished it off.’”
Recalling his wife’s surgery just months earlier, he said, “If you could have a good experience with a surgery, that was one of the best ones we’ve ever been involved in as far as the doctor, all of his staff, the hospital, from top to bottom – and she had to stay almost seven days with her surgery.”
But her surgeon had since retired, and Ball wasn’t sure where to turn. Then he remembered a relative praising Dr. Joel “Trey” Bradley of Premier Surgical after undergoing hernia surgery at Fort Sanders Regional within the past month.
“It didn’t take him long to tell me what I had,” said Ball. “Of course, I knew that had to be a hernia over here and then he said you have a small one starting on the left side. So I told him to go ahead and do that one too. Then he explained the procedure and all the details.”
The surgery was set for July 6. It took only about 60 to 90 minutes for Dr. Bradley to repair both hernias through a few tiny laparoscopic incisions on his abdomen, using a mesh material to “patch the hole.”
“Everything went great,” said Ball. “Everybody in the room where they took me to start with was just tremendously friendly and very cordial and I couldn’t ask for a better place. I just remember rolling in and waking up and that was it. I never did have any real pain. I had some soreness, but it was mild.
I couldn’t ask for anybody better than Dr. Bradley. I mean he was that good. I was extremely happy with the results, and especially the treatment at Fort Sanders. I couldn’t have asked for more friendly people, very professional. It just doesn’t get any better.”
In no time at all, Ball was “back on the move, trimming weeds, mowing, painting – you name it.” In about six weeks, the mayor and retired principal found himself back in the classroom substitute teaching.
But Ball is careful not to over do it. “I am not going to take any chances. I’m not going to get into that heavy lifting stuff again. Dr. Bradley was very specific: take care of yourself, watch what you do.”
For more information about hernia surgery, CLICK HERE to visit our Premier Surgical hernia webpage.