anna's blog

Our beautiful, gorgeous little girl, Anna, has leukaemia. She was diagnosed on Monday 5 December 2011.

Ambulance trip

on January 24, 2012

Not long after the last blog post on Sunday, and after having dropped Ann Marie and Nathan off at the train station, at home Anna loudly complained of a pain in her right arm which was obviously very distressing to her, and she seemed to have a redness on the back of her arm which dissipated when the pain receded. This prompted a call to RHSC Ward 2 who advised a trip to their A&E.

Therefore, I gathered some clothes, medicines, etc together. Around 15 minutes after the first “episode”, and whilst I was changing her into some suitable clothing, she then had another painful “episode” in her right arm, but I also noticed that her feet were VERY purple and cold.


A 999 call then resulted in an ambulance at the door after explaining to the 999 operator  that I had a 3 year old with SMA Type 3, recently diagnosed with ALL and just discharged from a bout of shingles plus the above and that I was obviously concerned!

The ambulance trip (no flashing lights) to RHSC went smoothly (with a warning message, in error, going off for a deployed step every minute it seemed), with no recurrences of Anna’s “episodes”. Anna was seen fairly promptly: she was very calm and had no apparent symptoms of her “episodes” apart from a slightly elevated heart rate. The upshot from the doctor was that she didn’t exactly know what the problem had been but they would like to keep her in overnight for observation in Ward 2.

After having some swabs taken, Anna had a gripper inserted into her Portocath and some bloods taken. Eventually, Anna and I spent an uneventful night in the same Ward 2 cubicle that we had vacated on Tuesday! Doctors Shona and Alice visited us in the morning and said essentially the same thing as the doctor in A&E had said the night before, but that they would like to keep us a little longer to ensure that there were no further problems. As long as it didn’t happen again it wasn’t necessarily something that needed to be explained/understood (see Note below).

Phone calls/texts to an obviously anxious Ann Marie, in Pizza Express at North Bridge Edinburgh, with Nathan and members of her family, kept her up-to-date throughout but there was no need for her to go to RHSC.

When Ann Marie arrived around 1pm Monday as agreed, it was indicated that we could leave and therefore at 2pm we again departed Ward 2. We will be back on Wednesday for Anna’s weekly intrathecal chemotherapy via a lumbar puncture under a general anaesthetic!

Anna leaving RHSC on Monday

Nathan in Pizza Express, North Bridge


As I understand it, a possible cause is residual nerve pain linked with shingles. Adults have reported pain in an area where they have not had shingles but which has been found to be nerve pain from nerves which serve the area where they have had shingles. Such pain can occur some time after the shingles has been treated. Anna’s purple feet could have been the body responding to the trauma by diverting the blood circulation away from the extremities to the trauma area.

6 responses to “Ambulance trip

  1. Sharon Wallace says:

    Fair play to you, Peter, that wasnt the relaxed evening with Anna you probably had hoped for. Yourself and Ann Marie show such composure with all of this, its such an example to the rest of us. Glad to hear Anna is back home again.

  2. Neil says:

    I can hardly believe what I’m reading Peter. It is a tribute to you and Anne-Marie that your family is managing to cope with so many emergencies. Lots of love to Anna.

  3. Ann Margaret Lamb says:

    What a nightmare. Peter, you and Ann Marie are incredible. Love Ann Margaret x

  4. Anne Mawer says:

    Glad it all went fine in the end… what a worry!



  5. Gillean McCluskey says:

    hello Anna, Nathan, Peter and Ann Marie
    Phew! ‘Keep calm and carry on’ sounds like it should have been invented by you, Peter. Writing this on Wednesday so Anna will have been back in hospital today for the chemo. I know this will have been difficult so just want you to we are thinking of you all… Lots of love to you all,
    Gillean, Tom and Sam

  6. Hannah Cairns says:

    You deserve a medal Peter, coping with Anne while Ann Marie away at Leadership, then your unexpected trip to RHSC. You are an amazing couple, an amazing family. Keep smiling and give Anna and Nathan LOADS of hugs from Gav and I. Hannah

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