Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
It was a long time before Ann Miller cried over her husband.
She didn't cry when she realized Larry's breathing had stopped. She didn't cry as she pumped his chest, begging for his heart to come back to life. She didn't cry when paramedics hauled him into the back of their rig. And she didn't cry when doctors told her he had a 1-in-10 chance of survival.
But she did cry as Larry, 61, stood next to her two months later singing the Bill Withers classic Lean on Me with their church congregation. Ann, 52, leaned on Larry the same way Larry had needed her that Saturday night. She finally broke down after being the ''strong one'' since her husband's brush with death.
On that night two months before, Oct. 29, 2000, Ann woke to the sounds of Larry gasping for air in their home outside Big Rapids, Mich. He went into cardiac arrest, and she called 911.
Ann, who had earned her CPR certification that summer but had never resuscitated anyone, was panic-stricken and confused at first. But the 911 dispatcher calmed her into beginning the rescue process herself.
Her training came back to her, she says, and she remembers thinking: ''Yeah, I know CPR. Yeah, I can do this.''
''I went into automatic pilot,'' she says. ''Everything was clear in my mind. The trainer had told us the conditions (we might face). We were prepared for the panic.''
Ann pulled Larry to the floor. She breathed air into his lungs, forgetting the arthritic pain in her left knee, the same pain that had made it nearly impossible for her to practice CPR on the training dummies only months before.
''I felt no pain that night,'' she says. ''I felt no pain.''
She continued CPR for the seven minutes it took the emergency crew to reach the Millers' rural home. Then paramedics shocked Larry twice with a defibrillator and transported him to the hospital.
Larry has since retired and now spends his time working in his woodshop. ''You name it, I make it,'' he says.
Ann says Larry actually spends more time watching Court TV.
But there are two things both Millers agree on: how fortunate they are and the importance of knowing CPR.
''I said it a thousand times: I'm glad I met her 33 years ago,'' Larry says. ''The fact that I'm still here . . . Well, I'm lucky to have her.''
To see more of USAToday.com, or to subscribe, go to http://www.usatoday.com
© Copyright 2003 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.