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Hard Line Drive Impacts Entire Life

$27,667 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 287 people in 3 months
Created May 5, 2019
My name is Jim Hereth, and I've known Paul Marshall Solomon for around a decade now.  I first met him at a long-running Sunday pick-up softball game, and he subsequently invited me to join his Men's Adult League team - Natural Lights - in 2011.  

38916824_1557097404821348_r.jpegPaul (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.

38916824_1557083131339182_r.jpegPaul the night of the accident.  

THE DIAGNOSIS...

▪ 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

38916824_155708470110695_r.jpegPaul and his wife, Colleen.

38916824_1557097052148693_r.jpegColleen, 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 .  

38916824_1557083290102486_r.jpegPaul (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. 

SURGERY #2...

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.  

38916824_1557097218470341_r.jpegGame 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."

38916824_1557097296256284_r.jpeg
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.
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Unfortunately, Paul hit a bit of a stutter in his recovery process as his lens replacement surgery has been postponed. Again. Originally August 1st, then August 8th, and now, well… Read on for his news from this past Wednesday…


“Here's my latest update, on the day before the day I was looking forward to:

“Well, nuts. The hospital just called with another postponement for my lens implant. It seems that my custom lens is still in the shop, getting a final tune-up.

“They rescheduled my surgery for August 22nd. This is terribly frustrating. I keep trying to plan work and other events around my surgery, and it keeps changing.

“Feeling a bit helpless here. I want to get this over with. And I'm very excited to finally get a lens in the eye after four months. It's an emotional roller coaster for sure as they keep moving the surgery date. I wake up and see the world clearly through my left eye, and a blurry mess through my right. So, I put on my eye patch and re-adjust my expectations.

“After so many postponements, it becomes easy to be cynical, and to reflexively guard against too much optimism, followed by the disappointment of another delay. I have to keep telling myself that I'm lucky to have an eye there that can be repaired. Two more weeks.

“Thanks for sticking with me, everyone.

Paul”
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Got a short, but exciting, update from Paul. Make sure you turn those good vibes up to eleven at the beginning of next month...


“A date has been set for my lens implantation. Not to be confused with Souplantation. August 1st. I'm excited and a little scared, just because I really want them to get this right. This could be my final surgery and I could come out of it with some pretty decent eyesight.

“They'll numb out my eye, make an incision or two in the white part, and get in there and suture in a new lens. I guess if they're just doing a cataract surgery, they don't need sutures. I think the new lens just slips into the old one's place. But since my lens got knocked out of its slot, there's no easy retrofit. Hence, the sutures (my limited understanding.)

“Surgery should last 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. Here we go! Thanks for all good wishes.

“Paul”
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Happy Fourth of July, all! Got an update to share from Paul about him potentially declaring independence from his eye patch before too long (despite how cool it looks)...


"With the focus on healing, there hasn’t been much activity since the last surgery three weeks ago. But today we took what felt like a great leap forward, apologies to Chairman Mao (look it up, you young whippersnappers!) The oculoplastics surgeons who fixed my orbit with the titanium plate are very happy with the outcome. My eye is in a much more natural position since they put it back on the new shelf. The post-op swelling continues to go down, and I have some feeling returning to the numb right side of my face.

"The ophthalmologists had even better news. My eye pressure is 16. Well within the normal range. They think my eye is ready for an artificial replacement lens sometime in the next few weeks! I’ll be able to see again with my right eye after they suture in a new lens. It's been 3 months since the injury. It will be closer to 4 months when the lens goes in.

"They’re predicting that I’ll have some double vision issues, especially when I look up. That could be a problem fielding fly balls!! And my pupil is still not working right, so there will be glare and light sensitivity. I may have to keep taking eye drops to control the pressure. Those are some of the problems I’ll continue to deal with, but I’m very excited about the positive prospects and look forward to surmounting the new challenges.

"Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support. I am truly blessed by everything you've done to help me out. Please keep the positive vibes coming as I go through the next stages of this recovery. They mean the world to me.

Paul"
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Greetings and salutations to the Paul Squad.

Paul returned to the 'scene of the crime' last Thursday, to say hello and watch his 'Natural Lights' softball team play (I suspect he wanted to get in a couple of at-bats too, but cooler heads prevailed).

Along with him, came his entourage - wife, Colleen, daughter, Stefanie (with her husband, Wil) and adorable grandson, Ollie. It was an embarrassment of riches and goodwill cheering us on.

Below is Paul’s latest update, along with a very special gift for you all! Be sure to read through to the end…


“I had my orbit surgery (finally) last week.

“Indirect orbital floor fracture (‘blowout fracture’) occurs when the bony rim of the eye remains intact, but the paper-thin floor of the socket cracks or ruptures. This can cause a small hole at the base that can trap parts of the eye muscles and surrounding structures. The injured eye may not move normally in its socket, which can cause double vision. Most blowout fractures are caused by an impact to the front of the eye from something bigger than the eye opening, such as a baseball, a fist, or an automobile dashboard.

“Also - a softball - hit right back at the pitcher.

“During this surgery, the floor of the eye socket was replaced with a titanium plate. I asked them what happens to the original floor's paper-thin bones that 'blew out'. The answer is they just leave them, which in time the body will absorb. Fascinating!

“The surgery left me feeling pretty beat up, with a lot of soreness, and a lot of numbness from the centerline of my nose to my right cheek. When they replace the orbit floor, they have to move the eye around, as well as some nerves. The doctor said, ‘I don't think we severed any of them.’ OK, there's some comfort. Will the numbness go away? Probably. How long will that take? Oh, anywhere from a few weeks to a year. Some numbness may remain forever. Small price to pay for getting my vision back.

"Now that the eye is in its proper place with the right height, the right tilt aspect, and moved forward in the eye socket, it feels like I'm continuing on the road to recovery.

“Oh, they also damaged a tear duct, so they inserted a tube to help that work while it heals. They'll probably remove the tube in a few weeks.

“I'm still taking eye drops to keep the pressure down, which seems to be working. And the lens replacement that will give me focused vision is still a couple of months down the road. Patience, patience.

“I want to do something to express my thanks to all of you who have so generously contributed and supported me through this GoFundMe page. So, following Jim's suggestion, I'm going to be offering some music for you to listen to and download.

“I'd like to start with the solo CD, 'Weed And Water' that I released around 2000. Here are the song files in a dropbox folder. You can follow this link, where you can hear the songs and download them if you like. I hope you enjoy them.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wk7eewquzjo4hqq/AABHJhX4WI2PMyNFFNL_S391a?dl=0

Very gratefully,

Paul"
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$27,667 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 287 people in 3 months
Created May 5, 2019
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