Breathing. It’s so automatic we’re usually not even aware of it. But what if your body couldn’t take a life-giving breath on its own? In Table for Five: A Father’s Story of Life, Love and Loss, Ted Yang—philanthropist and serial entrepreneur—tells of years spent watching a machine breathe for his daughter, what it took to see her breathe on her own and how it changed him personally and professionally.
Table for Five is the #1 New Release for Fatherhood and Pregnancy and Childbirth on Amazon. Order your copy today.
Read an excerpt below.
The particular nurse on shift this night had been on duty just once before during the day, and she was not prone to hysterics or exaggeration. So when she started screaming, I literally jumped out of bed and ran downstairs with my heart beating out of my chest, knowing that this was for real. Christine followed me.
Sofia was in her crib, already blue and unresponsive when I saw her. At her size of roughly 13 pounds, it takes just two or three minutes for her to suffocate, so time was short. I snapped out orders for 911 to be called. Christine went to Sofia and my mom held Daniel who had woken up from the commotion as the nurse, having regained her composure, explained that Sofia wasn’t breathing—her tube may have gotten misaligned—and the backup trach the nurse had switched to already wasn’t working either. We put Sofia on the floor and the nurse began CPR as I reached for the second backup trach and then the third (we kept six nearby in various sizes and readiness) and inserted each of them in turn, trying to hold the trachs in place with one hand while at the same time pumping pure oxygen through the trach from our full-size oxygen tank that I had turned up full blast. I used the special vacuum to try to clean through the trach opening, in case there was a blockage lower in her airway. I was utterly panicked but somehow kept the would-be tremors in my hands at bay.
One-one-thousand. Two-one-thousand. Sofia didn’t respond. Three-one-thousand. Christine watched frantically, fear emanating off her in waves.
The nurse and I kept at it—she with the CPR and me with the Ambu-bag and oxygen at the trach—as the sirens grew closer. Finally, after an agonizingly long time, Sofia took a breath and color started flowing back into her blue-tinged face. By the time I looked away from my daughter on the floor, the room was full of the people my mom had let in while we worked. A paramedic had a defibrillator out and started putting it away as he detected a steady pulse and reconnected her instead to the pulse oximeter. The nurse stopped CPR. We were out of danger. It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes since I woke up.
—From Table for Five. Available for sale on Amazon.