Hi All,

I just wanted to add a final note of thanks to all of you who have supported me in my recovery - financially and otherwise. My words cannot express the immense gratitude I have for every single way that people showed up to support Kate and I at this time in my life. You have changed me forever.

My recovery is "complete." I have slight double vision on the right periphery, and when my eyes are tired, I have "drunk vision" with things about 12"-24" from my face. That is, I cannot focus well at that distance under those conditions. I blow my nose more frequently I think...especially in cold weather. Finally, I will always have the risk of infection with me, but I rarely think about that. I will continue to have check ups every 6-12 months until the surgeons are satisfied that they can live without me. In the meantime, I have resumed living my "rough and tumble" life - still playing sports and staying active - with the protective mask in place, of course.

Financially, I have been incredibly blessed by donors and the hospitals alike. I put my faith in God that things would work out monetarily, and they continue to do so in a way that I could not have foreseen. I am simply amazed...and yet I can honestly say that I am not surprised at all. God really loves softball players I guess.

As of March 2, 2009, I will not longer post to this blog. If, for some reason, something related to this incident happens, I will re-open the blog...but don't count on it. I'm certainly not. :-)

Thanks again for...everything.

All my best,


4/11/08 - Six Months Later...

As the weather improves, I am anticipating another softball season. I already returned to the basketball court with a protective mask (see photo at left) about a month ago. The mask is amazing. I'm fearless. I haven't yet taken a shot to the face, but I don't even think about it. I've tested the mask at home with a few smacks to the face, and I anticipate it will work very well. It's made of hard plastic and custom fitted to my face. It wasn't cheap, but it has allowed me to return to my active life in competitive sports.

Anyhow, tonight I take the field for the first time since the accident...and yes, it's the same field at Brightbill Park where my accident occurred. I don't expect anyone to make a big deal out of it. To them, I think, it's just something that happened long enough ago to be forgotten. I can't say I feel apprehensive myself; I just haven't yet tried to catch or hit a ball since September. Slightly uneasy may be a better description. I think that, given the challenges with my vision not quite being 100%, the prospect of catching is of most concern for me.

In the end, I'll probably arrive early so I can be there by myself, stretch a little and reflect on how truly fortunate I am to have lived to play another day...another season. No matter how cold or windy or hot it may be on any given day, I know I will be much more deliberate this season in stopping for a brief moment to "take it all in" every time I step on a field.

You think you'll live forever...but I'm much more connected now to the notion that I'm closer to the end of my athletic prime than I am to the beginning. My days are numbered. I can't compete at a competitive level with younger guys forever. Still, I love playing. Always have. I'll do it as long as I can.

People questioned whether I'd be back. To me, it's a no brainer. I'll quit on my terms. Otherwise, the accident wins...and that just isn't going to happen. :-)

Donations: How you can Help

Since the day of the accident, people have talked about fundraising. The whole idea of asking for and accepting financial help feels awkward to me, and I really wrestled with the idea. Some people will think the whole idea is tacky, but the amount I now owe seems daunting to me.

As the days after the accident passed, I started thinking..."What if 150,000 people were willing to donate $1?" I couldn't shake that thought. How amazing would that be? I like to think that it might be possible...especially with the power of the Internet. Eventually, I concluded that there was no harm in asking for help.

We decided the easiest way to go was to add a Paypal "Donation" button as the seeds of a money tree. If you'd like to donate financially, great; if not, that's ok too. I promise that I won't think any more or less of anyone. While no amount is necessary, ANY AMOUNT is appreciated - even $1 donations will add up. ALL OF THE MONEY WILL GO TO PAY THE MEDICAL BILLS associated with my facial reconstruction.

If you don't have Paypal, you can still donate via major credit card. Simply click the "Donate" button and follow the instructions at the bottom of the pop up window.

If you want to donate but not online, please mail donations to:

1137 Summerwood Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111

Thank you sincerely to those who've chosen to donate. I truly appreciate your help.


Why are Donations Needed?

As a self-employed professional who relocated to Harrisburg only one year ago, my focus in 2007 has been on building business relationships and networks. Until a network of clients is established, cash flow is limited. Credit cards have bridged the gaps, but the budget was not ready for this major expenditure! The post-surgery layoff is just one more financial complication that isn't helping.

Given that the softball didn't kill me or cause any significant permanent damage, it's very difficult to be bothered by the money. Still, the reality is that both hospitals expect to be paid.

The irony of this whole situation is that I was in the process of getting health insurance just prior to the accident! With my active lifestyle and another birthday approaching, I had decided to find some catastrophic coverage despite my tight budget. I met with an agent at the beginning of September. In fact, I had the insurance quotes in my hand during the afternoon of 9/13 - the day of the accident. Timing is everything...

Without health insurance, the quoted cost of the surgeries is currently $150,000. I'm working with Pinnacle and HMC to get the amount reduced, but after receiving some bills already, I can see I'm well on my way to financing the equivalent of a small house.

I realize that my choices have created this predicament for me. However, I'm hoping that the compassion and generosity of friends and strangers will help me overcome this unexpected financial burden. Again, I am grateful for all of the help and support - no matter how big or small - that I've been receiving from all of you. This truly has been - and continues to be - a humbling experience.

TV News Coverage

For those wishing to see a local TV news report about my story (WGAL News 8 - Harrisburg, PA) that aired on 10/11/07, please click on the youtube.com video link:


3/4/08 Update (5 Months) - Hershey Medical Center to Settle and More

I've added updated photos at left.

Although my repaired facial structure is nearly as strong as the original bone structures, I decided to move forward with the custom made face mask idea mentioned in last month's post. The Detroit Pistons did connect me with the company in Michigan that manufactures the mask. About 10 days ago, Kate, Jaime and I made a plaster mold of my face. I sent it off to Michigan, along with a prescription and a few photos of my face, and after one week, they have produced and mailed my mask. I should have it by 3/5/08. It appears that I may be able to wear the mask for softball, flag football and volleyball as well. My goal is to test it out on the basketball court on 3/8/08!

The other big piece of news is that Hershey Medical Center has reached a decision regarding payment of my bills from the beginning of this accident until now. So far, I've been billed around $72,000 by them as well as about $4000 by Pinnacle Health (Harrisburg Hospital). The total from HMC is about 50% of the original estimated costs, BUT the total so far does not include any additional surgery (TBD) or any follow up care (doctors' appointments, CT scans, etc) going forward. Terms of the agreement cannot be disclosed, but I'm satisfied with the agreement.

One thing I have learned through this whole experience is that it pays to be positive and proactive, regardless of the situation you may find yourself in. Everyone has challenges, and most likely someone will always be worse off than you are. Just do what you can by collaborating with others to move toward a resolution...and have a little faith that things will work out. For me, the whole money issue around this affair shook me up for a short time. After that, it became a matter of "what can I do?" Then I did "it." Things have worked out remarkably well...better than I could have ever expected.

I'm never surprised anymore that things work out as they do. I smile every time, but I can honestly say that I'm never surprised. Life is...so cool that way.

Still no decision on my part about grafting a piece of my rib onto my nose to extend it. For me, it depends on the day. Some days I want to do it; other days I feel like I should keep it as is to remind me of how fortunate I have been...The double vision on my right side periphery still exists, but it is greatly improved. I seem to struggle if I read or use the computer for long periods of time, but I'm happy with my progress. I've been taking olive leaf extract to help the healing. I think it's helping, but how does one know for sure?

1 comment:

ckarper said...

I love what you said here Rob...
"I'm never surprised anymore that things work out as they do. I smile every time, but I can honestly say that I'm never surprised. Life is...so cool that way."
You are right- Life is so cool that way- Hang in there my friend.

9/30/07 - My Humble Thanks

I continue to be humbled by all of you who have supported me in any way throughout this major facial reconstruction adventure. While the cost of surgery for me will be substantial (no health insurance), I am most grateful to be alive, to be recovering rather quickly and to have people around me who want to help in any way they can.

I apologize for not personally getting back to all who have called, emailed, written and text messaged about how I'm doing. Given my limited energy and lack of an audible voice, it has been difficult to update everyone personally. A friend and I figured technology might be the best way to reach all of you with my story. I'll post often with photos and updates. I think it will help me IMMENSELY in reaching all of you.

Anyhow, people have asked repeatedly if I need anything. My response? A time machine or a money tree. :-) My new face has a $150,000 price tag at this point. Somehow the amazing people who worked on me will receive what I owe them financially - even if it takes the rest of my life.

A side note - the patient satisfaction surveys came the day AFTER I left the hospital and the day BEFORE the bills started coming. I laughed at that.

As I continue my recovery, I want to sincerely thank all of you for your prayers, thoughts, cards, well wishes, donations and playing advice. I have a lot of faith. Things happen...but things also come together and find a way to work themselves out. Life has given me an interesting experience to learn from and laugh through.

Thanks to all of you for every little way in which you've reached out. As I mentioned, I am...humbled and grateful for all of it.

Best Wishes,