When 4-year-old Sarah was crying in pain and distress on a Friday night, mum Natasha was urgently looking for some back-up. Equipsme’s nurse helpline, provided by AXA Health, was there exactly when she needed it.
“It’s so hard to watch your child struggling and hear them hurting,” says Natasha, “and I just needed someone to check in with, and reassure me I was doing all the right things.”
Sarah had been having problems with recurring urinary tract infections, and had just been prescribed some new medication from her NHS consultant. “It was great that we finally got to see a consultant,” explains Natasha, “but as soon as she started to take this medicine it seemed to be making her worse, not better. And then to add to it all she started with Covid about a week afterwards.
“Her whole little body was just all over the place. It was heart breaking to see her struggling so much, and I didn’t know what was Covid, what was a reaction to the medication or what to do next.”
Things came to a head, typically, as the family were heading into a weekend. “Sarah just wasn’t right,” says Natasha, “she had a roaring temperature, she was really distressed, and I suddenly reached the point where I thought, we can’t carry on like this for a whole weekend! Someone needs to tell me what the hell it is I need to do, whether to carry on with the medicine, reduce it, change something else we’re doing - or even get ourselves to A&E.
“I knew there was no point ringing my GP, because you can’t get an appointment for love nor money, and they’d already told me I should be following the consultant’s instructions. And I couldn’t get through to the consultant! I remembered about the nurse advice line that’s part of my Equipsme plan, and gave them a call. I’m so pleased I did.
“The woman who answered the phone was a mum herself and she was just so helpful and calming. She really took the time to listen to what had been going on, didn’t rush me through, and gave me some really good advice. We talked about reducing the dose of the medicine she was taking, keeping Sarah’s fluids up, the best food to eat to keep her tummy settled, what to do if her temperature kept going up - and when to call 111 or 999. She wanted to make sure we weren’t missing a UTI or other infection underneath all the other issues.
“It was just so nice to have someone to talk it all through with, and help me make a plan. I was feeling a bit helpless - like I was letting her down – and I needed to know in my heart that I was doing everything I could to make her as comfortable as possible.
“Getting that reassurance and care was exactly what I needed. The nurse I talked to even called me back the next day on the Saturday to check in on us and see how we’d got on overnight. It was such a lovely thing for her to do, and I felt like she was actually invested in me as a person.”
Peace of mind
Sarah is now recovered and bouncing around again, and Natasha has called the helpline several more times when she’s needed some advice on anything from warts to hayfever.
She says: “I’m so pleased I made that call to the Health at Hand helpline. It’s back-up in your back pocket, peace of mind, and a great resource - especially if you’ve got kids. When you’ve looked at Dr Google and panicked yourself, when you need a second opinion or you can’t get to your own GP, there’s a whole team of nurses, pharmacists and midwives there to help you.
“I’d 100% recommend Equipsme members to give them a call this Summer.”
*Names have been changed to protect privacy