It’s always the Grandmothers. The three cases where I have been involved in cases of Juvenile Pernicious Anaemia have all been instigated by the grandmother of the child who is having problems. It happened again on Saturday at the ‘Fun in the Sun‘ show in Porthcawl, South Wales.
We were handing out our ‘Could You Be B12 Deficient’ checklist when a lady walked past pushing a pushchair. She was accompanied by her mother and a young girl of around 8 years of age. They hesitated, said a few words to each other and then walked back to our stall. The young girl had a shock of red hair and…..deep blue eyes.
“Can kids get Pernicious Anaemia” asked the grandmother.
“Oh yes” I replied. “Why do you ask”?
“Because I’ve got it” the gran replied, “and she has almost all of the same symptoms as me”, she said, pointing to the young girl who was starting to be embarrased.
I ran through the symptoms on the checklist with the young girl. She had all of the main indicators – brittle ridged nails, constant tiredness, the ‘sighs’ and, even more worrying, balance problems.
I asked the young girl if she became tired in the afternoons and she told me that she did and that every day, after arriving home from school, she had to sleep for two to three hours. She told me that she found it difficult to concentrate on her schoolwork in the afternoons and that her teacher had labelled her “Lazy Lucy”.
The Grandmother stared at me with her big blue eyes and her daughter listened with her blue eyes wide with disbelief.
“I thought it was an old woman’s problem” said the Gran. “That’s what my doctor told me”. I assured her that it was possible that the young girl had inherited the problem from her mother who insisted that she had none of the symptoms.
I advised that the young girl should be taken to her GP and ask for her B12 levels to be tested. The Grandmother assured me that she would do so as a priority. The mother was insisting that she had none of the symptoms and I agreed that she didn’t tick any of the boxes on the checklist.
Not yet anyway.