The nurse buzzed me into the Critical Care Unit. The chic and stunning Mrs. William F. Buckley — the society columnists used to call her that — lay on her bed, shrunken, open-eyed, unseeing, a thick plastic respirator tube protruding from her mouth, making a loud, rhythmic bellows noise as it pumped and withdrew air from her lungs. I’d driven eight hours through a storm to get here and knew pretty much what to expect, but I lost it and began to sob. The nurse kindly left.
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