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Estella Annette Arnwine – Stroke Survivor Story

Stroke smarts – Estella Annette Arnwine survived a stroke, thanks to her family's quick thinking

Estella Annette Arnwine and her sisterFrom the spring 2012 edition of Shine magazine

A drooping face, tingling arms, and slurred speech are all symptoms you've heard to be signs of stroke. However, stroke symptoms are not always so obvious, says Ronald Bell, MD, an independently practicing neurologist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

His patient Estella Annette Arnwine is a perfect example.

Something's not quite right

The morning of Oct. 17, 2011, Arnwine was on the phone with her sister, planning a trip to California.

"I had woken up with what I thought was a sore throat," Arnwine says. "My voice was almost gone, and I felt really tired."

Her sister, Patricia Brown, noticed something different: "She was having a hard time articulating her words. Her voice sounded slow and labored."

After hanging up the phone, Brown called some of their siblings to express her concern, and they agreed to take their sister to the hospital right away.

In the emergency department at Methodist Richardson, Dr. Bell and the medical staff determined that Arnwine was experiencing a major blood pressure crisis.

"If she had waited, she would have experienced the full expression of the stroke, which could have left her paralyzed or completely speechless."

A series of tests revealed that Arnwine had not only had two strokes that day but a third one at an indeterminate time that she never noticed.

Now the goal is to keep her from having a fourth stroke, says Dr. Bell, who prescribed blood pressure, blood thinning, and cholesterol medications for Arnwine. She's also been going to speech therapy at Methodist Richardson, and her speech has already dramatically improved.

"Ninety-five percent of cases like this would not have made it to the emergency department," Dr. Bell says. "Ms. Arnwine's symptom of slurred speech was subtle, but coming to the emergency department saved her life."

Listen to your heart

Estella Annette Arnwine's familyAlso known as "Granny" by her 15 grandchildren, Arnwine is happy to be recovering smoothly.

"She has been the mother hen for all of us," Brown says with a smile. "Now we are all making sure she is taking it slow and taking care of herself first."

Arnwine praises God for being with her that October day. Her advice to others: "Listen when your body tells you something is wrong. Go get checked out."

Certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center, Methodist Richardson is ready to care for you in an emergency.

F.A.S.T. Stroke Warning Signs

FACE - Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS - Is one arm weak or numb?
SPEECH - Is the speech slurred?
TIME - Time is critical.