Supervisor returns to Town Hall after visiting ill mother

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter at a Town Board meeting.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter returned from Scotland this week, where his 69-yer-old mother, Joann, remains hospitalized after becoming ill while on a cruise to the North Pole with her husband, Michael.

Mr. Walter made an emergency trip to Scotland to be with his mother two weeks ago after she was airlifted from the ship by Shetland Island and taken to a hospital in Glasgow, where he said she is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator, but has shown improvement.

Her heart and lungs are still weak, he said.

“I’m convinced…although she’s still in critical condition…that she’s coming home,” Mr. Walter said before Thursday’s Town Board work session.

He said the doctors thought she might not survive, but she proved otherwise.

“My mother is a heck of a lot stronger than anybody gave her credit for,” Mr. Walter said.

Despite her condition, which he said is caused by pneumonia, she still opens her eyes whenever her husband speaks, he said, adding, “The marital bond between them is something special.”

Still, the doctors said that even with the progress she has shown, she’s likely to spend another seven to 10 days in intensive care, and then probably another three to four weeks in rehabilitation, Mr. Walter said.

“I just want to thank all of the residents of the town that have been praying for her,” Mr. Walter said. “The prayers are working and I truly believe that she’s going to come home.”

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