Paul (on the left, and me next to him) with the rest of the Natural Lights during our most recent championship in Summer, 2018.
On the night of April 11, Paul was pitching in our men's league game, when he was hit by a rocket line drive. There was no time to react and the ball struck him square in his right eye. As the catcher, I had a "front row seat" and it was brutal.
Paul dropped to the ground in agony and everyone rushed to make him as comfortable as possible while an ambulance was called. He stayed conscious and somehow maintained his sense of humor, but was clearly in excruciating pain and bleeding significantly.
The ambulance took him to USC Verdugo Hills Keck Hospital where he was met by his wife, Colleen. With the help of a CT scan, doctors determined that his eye socket was broken and he had a displaced lens. If that wasn't bad enough, his eye was in jeopardy due to swelling.
There were no trauma eye specialists at Verdugo, so they quickly moved him to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where they performed emergency surgery that night/the next morning to relieve the immediate pressure on his eye.
Paul the night of the accident.
▪ Broken eye socket with 50% blow-out fracture
▪ Displaced lens
▪ Severe swelling with dangerously high intraocular pressure
▪ Loss of vision in the right eye
THE BACKSTORY, or WHO IS PAUL MARSHALL SOLOMON...
Anyone would be lucky to have a guy like Paul in their life. He's friendly, supportive, funny, and kind. He's a husband, father, and grandfather.
He and his wife, Colleen, have been married for 40 years.
They have three kids - Scott (married to Liz), Stefanie (married to Wil) and P.J. (married to Cameron). That crew brings along a trio of grandsons - Ollie, Ethan, and John Paul.
Paul and his wife, Colleen.
Colleen, Paul, and grandbaby, Oliver.
When he's not with his family or playing softball, Paul is entertaining crowds as a musician, where he's known as Paul Marshall.
A bassist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer, he's even shown up on the big screen in the cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, as a member of The Strawberry Alarm Clock .
These days he can mostly be found in the band, I See Hawks in LA .
Paul (second from right) performing with I see Hawks in L.A. at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena in 2004. (photo by Mona)
Since his initial time at the hospital(s) following the accident, Paul has been at Harbor-UCLA about every other day for monitoring, treatment, and surgeries.
SPEAKING OF SURGERIES...
At the end of April, Paul was all hooked up in pre-op two Fridays in a row, ready for surgery to repair the orbital floor with a titanium plate, which doctors wanted to address first. Both times, after hours and hours of waiting and receiving a potassium drip, the surgery was cancelled due to low potassium.
Doctors were also concerned about an arrhythmia that's been a part of Paul's medical history for years.
That put him three weeks out from the injury with no further work done on his virtually blind eye, so a decision was made to postpone the orbital repair. Instead, they turned their attention to the needed eye surgery to relieve long term pressure - which could threaten the optic nerve - and address the other trauma and displaced lens.
On Thursday, May 2nd, Paul had what he referred to as "the big eye surgery."
That day, he underwent a vitrectomy and lensectomy. The vitreous was extracted, along with a substantial amount of blood from the injury. His lens was also removed. This procedure requires that the eye heal for about eight weeks before they implant a new lens.
"Cleaned out the blood, took out the vitreous, removed my damaged lens. Good result. My eye pressure is normal now. After 8 weeks (!) of healing, they'll give me a new lens. Then we'll see if I can see."
Unfortunately, to illustrate the tenuous circumstances with this injury, just a couple of days after Paul sent the above note, he followed-up...
"Whoops! Things change fast and the eye pressure is up again, threatening the possibility of yet another surgery to implant a shunt in the eye as a permanent pressure relief system.
"They also tell me that the plate that constitutes the repair of the orbital shelf is probably not titanium. They're describing it as 'kind of like a guitar pick.' How appropriate!"
WHAT COMES NEXT...
In addition to the potential shunt surgery, Paul is scheduled to have two other surgeries over the next few months.
▪ Surgery #3 - is the one that had originally been scheduled first. This is to fix the bones in his eye socket, where he'll receive his "guitar pick" plate to replace the bone shelf where his eye should be resting.
▪ Surgery #4 - will be when a new lens is inserted and doctors will determine if the optic nerve is okay. At this point, Paul will hopefully regain some vision in that eye.
Game time is usually a good time.
WHY WE'RE HERE...
As you might imagine, even with insurance, costs and consequences from this kind of traumatic injury can be overwhelming.
I'll let Paul explain...
"I'm wearing an eye patch, and learning how to navigate the world without depth perception. I hope to have vision restored to the eye after I get a new lens, but issues like double vision and pupil malfunction are among the problems that loom, and may have to be addressed with further surgeries.
"I've had to cancel a lot of work, and my wife, Colleen, has taken a lot of time off to help me. You'd be amazed at how many eye drops need to be administered, and how hard it is to give yourself an eye drop when you can't see the dropper!
"I miss playing ball and I'm upset about the gigs that I've had to cancel. But I'm optimistic that I'll get through this difficult challenge, and come out a better person after all. I'm incredibly grateful for my family's full time support during this period of reduced ability, and I'm deeply grateful for all the messages of support and love from family, friends, acquaintances, teammates, hospital workers, doctors, nurses, and even some people who don't even know me.
"Thank you all."
The next few months are going to be critical. If you're able, we'd really appreciate anything you can contribute to help Paul and his family cover costs as he works his way back to health.
No amount is too small, and no gesture unappreciated. Good vibes and prayers are also always welcome.
Thanks so much for your time.