Wow, this is so not what I was expecting to read on Twitter this morning: Former child star Frankie Muniz suffered a mini-stroke last Friday. That’s right, the kid we grew up with on Malcolm in the Middle. He’s only 27, and yet here he apparently went through something that we usually associate with people twice his age.
Even weirder, we may never have found out about it if he hadn’t said so. It’s not like TMZ captured footage of him going to the hospital. And this is a guy who’s been in the news for several bizarre incidents over the last few years! Most notably, for putting a gun to his head while arguing with his girlfriend in 2011. (More on that in a sec.)
In fact, it sounds like the whole thing went down pretty quietly. Several days after the fact, he nonchalantly tweeted:
It strikes us as weird that his first reaction is to talk about taking better care of himself, because isn’t a stroke something you can’t control? We did some research; it sounds like Frankie suffered a transient ischemic attack (ITA), which is colloquially called a mini-stroke. This means the blood supply to part of his brain was interrupted, likely leading to numbness or weakness in the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body; dizziness and difficulty walking; trouble seeing out of one or both eyes; and confusion or inability to talk. The symptoms usually last for just an hour, though they can persist all the way up to 24 hours.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one can stave off future strokes by identifying and treating risk factors. These hit the usual bases: Quit smoking, cut back on the alcohol, eat better, exercise, maintain a healthy weight. But we have to confess that our cynical minds jumped straight to drugs. Could that be what Frankie meant when he said he’d have to take better care of himself?
Frankie’s never been linked to drugs, but like I said, he’s acted really strangely since his sitcom ended. In early 2011, he called 911 on his girlfriend Elycia Turnbow, claiming that she was punching him in the face while he slept. However, he seemed unsure and erratic on the 911 call, insisting that he didn’t want to make a big deal as a celebrity, he just wanted to make it stop. During the ensuing argument with Elycia, Frankie allegedly held a gun to his head to try and get her to calm down. However, they later released a statement to the police claiming that “a gun played no part in the argument.”
Last October, Frankie and Elycia got engaged. It’s unclear if they’ve worked through the rough patch in their relationship, but that could contribute to the cause of Frankie’s stroke. Because it sounds like what triggers this kind of thing is a high-stress lifestyle and/or relationship… and while he’s been out of work for a while, he’s got the latter in spades.
Photo: D. Salters/WENN.com