Beverly called the ambulance because she couldn’t walk anymore. Her feet were edematous after ten days of radiation treatment for metastatic lung cancer, and her heart was slowly overfilling with fluid, backlogging into her body. She was stoically resigned to her pain and newfound infirmity, but she kept a wry sense of humor, cracking jokes about being waited upon and the “magic carpet ride” sling we lifted her onto.
During transport to the hospital, Beverly told me she grew protea: pale red, pink and cream-colored flowers native to South Africa. Her family sells them at local farmer’s markets in bouquets.