MEDINA, Ohio — Brian Brant took a leisurely walk in his Medina neighborhood enjoying some sunshine and fresh air. The 64-year-old married grandfather didn't take the stroll for granted.
Instead, it's an example of a moment that gives him time to ponder questions like why am I still alive?
"That's the big question. Why was I chosen?" Brant said. "To figure out why I'm here."
The short answer is Brant is still here because of the immediate actions of Susan Brant, his wife of 43 years.
She calls her husband a "miracle man" and fought through tears when she recalled the details of the night he almost died from cardiac arrest.
"Our EP (electrophysiologist) physician said he was in the three percent club. Three percent of the people survive from this arrest," Susan Brant said.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals each year. About 90% of them are fatal.
Around 9:10 p.m. on May 2, Brian Brant went into cardiac arrest while lying in his bed.
Susan Brant, 64, said she smacked her husband in the face a couple of times and shook him but he didn't wake up.
"I felt for his pulse. There was no pulse and he was pasty so I started CPR right then," she told News 5.
Brant did compressions for roughly seven minutes, and in between, called 911 and opened the front door for paramedics.
As a respiratory therapist, she has performed CPR dozens of times but felt something more than training was with her that night.
"I was being guided from above. I don't know, guardian angels," she said. "I remember myself just almost feeling like I could have passed out, but I didn't pass out. I was hyperventilating."
A Medina Life Support Team arrived and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) three times with his pulse coming and going.
According to Brant, her husband was unresponsive when he arrived at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital about 30 minutes after the cardiac arrest.
However, the medical team kept working on him and around 11 p.m., he became agitated as a doctor tried to insert a breathing tube. Around that time, he woke up and started talking. He didn't realize what happened to him but knew what day it was.
"He said May 2, 2022. He came around pretty quickly," Brant said.
Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital Dr. Lisa Derrick said Brant's quick actions were the difference between life and death.
"I would say that she is ultimately the one who saved his life. What she did was absolutely crucial to his survival," Derrick said.
The doctor also said that the couple's story shows the importance of learning CPR.
"It's something everyone can learn," she said.
Brian Brant said doctors aren't exactly sure what caused the cardiac arrest.
At Cleveland Clinic's main campus, he underwent an open sternotomy for a mitral valve repair and now has a pacemaker. He has no deficits," Susan Brant said.
How does Brian Brant thank the love of life for saving him? He said it's more than words.
"There are just moments that connect. I'll never find a way. We know. We know we love each other," he said.
Susan Brant said she will be forever grateful to Medina City and Medina Township EMS units, Derrick, the nurses, and respiratory and radiology teams for all of their efforts in the resuscitation.
As they look forward to their retirement years, the couple is also keenly aware that their story is filled with heart and hope, a love story that keeps beating.
"We look at each other every day and just go, 'This is amazing. This is just amazing.' He shouldn't be here. I should be a widow," Brant said. "We're grateful for every day, every day of our life together."
If you're interested in learning CPR, click here.