Putting July in the Rearview, Eager for August
Editor Sean Welsh reflects on a challenging July while anticipating a much better August.
It was the biggest day on the summer calendar.
I was looking forward to the independence celebration in Havre de Grace for weeks.
But what was supposed to be one of the best days of summer turned out to be the lowlight in mine.
So I’m bidding July adieu. I’m not looking back.
Don’t get me wrong—I love the July 4 holiday. I enjoy summer.
I’ve enjoyed bringing our readers the news in July (we’ll get to some of the highlights in a minute).
But on a personal note, July stunk.
I was covering the independence celebration parade in Havre de Grace on July 3 when, after riding the parade route for an hour or so with my wife, shooting photos for a slideshow to be posted later in the day, I began having difficulty breathing.
I knew I wasn’t in the same physical shape from about a year prior, but this wasn’t that out-of-shape, can’t-cut-it feeling.
Something wasn’t right.
I tried to tough it out, assuming it was a muscle pull from playing with my kids earlier in the day.
But by the time the Ravens Marching Band was halfway down Union Avenue, I was on my way back to Biller’s Bikes, only able to take half-breaths as I peddled weakly down Lodge Lane.
I returned the bike—so graciously loaned to me by Walt Biller earlier in the day—to the rack on Franklin Street where I picked it up.
My wife, Liz, hung back to shoot a few photos of the Ravens Marching Band near Harford Memorial Hospital. By the time we started walking back to our parking spot, on the eastern end of Otsego Street, near the Amtrak Bridge, I was struggling.
I couldn’t breathe. So I couldn’t drink. So I was dehydrated. So I was in rough shape.
By the time we got past Warren Street, I was done.
I laid down on the grass behind one of the Susquehanna Hose Company’s trucks, as Liz ran off to get the car.
After tossing around terms like “heart attack” and “pulmonary embolism” (a blood clot in the lung, the nurses explained), I was examined in a few forms and fashions before I was discharged with pain medication.
The next night, we were back at Upper Chesapeake—this time with a 105-degree fever.
Pneumonia was the ultimate prognosis.
In a follow-up appointment with our family physician, Dr. Louis Silverstein, he informed me I’d be feeling pretty rough for another six weeks.
I figured I’d be back up and running in no time.
The breathing has improved greatly—no thanks to the 100-plus degree temperatures. The cough is still there from time to time.
I dropped about 10 pounds in a week and a half—a dream diet, I joked, leading up to our 10-year reunion at Bulle Rock in mid-July.
I’m getting back to normal now, but it's been a slow process.
It’s been a while since I’ve swung a bat or a club.
This ought to be good.
But I’m looking forward to it.
So for a week or so in early July, I wasn’t out and about as much. I was doing more work from my recliner, relying more on my colleagues and freelancers.
I felt awful that we weren't able to help with spreading the word during the confusion at the July 3 fireworks. After a full evening of examinations, I had fallen asleep. I awoke to a number of texts from people all over the county asking if the fireworks were on or off.
There were some positives this July.
I’d like to do more of these kinds of series that highlight the good in our community, the unique things about Havre de Grace, or perhaps shed light on topics that are otherwise under-discussed.
I’d love to hear from you on what you think we can investigate.
We could start with everyone who helped me in July—from the Aberdeen Volunteer Fire Department’s ambulance crew, to the nurses and doctors at Patient First and Upper Chesapeake, as well as Dr. Silverstein, to my wife and family members who nursed me back to health.
July is over. I'm looking forward to August and the many activities it brings. Fall sports will start up soon. My wife celebrates a birthday mid-month, and my dad's is only a week later.
Further down the line, my son turns a year old in September. And just a month later, Havre de Grace Patch has its first birthday.
We’re fortunate to live in a community where a helping hand is never out of reach.
And I’m fortunate to be able to report on this community on a nonstop basis—even if it sends me to the emergency room.
Hello, August. I’m happy to see you.