Charlie: a real life superhero!

By Julie Haswell

I first met Charlie in February 2019 when he was referred to me for Cryotherapy. Charlie is seven years old and hyperactive to say the least: a beautiful boy inside and out. He presented with warts on his knees, face and hands and he wanted them ‘to go’.

Initially, Charlie had to gain confidence in myself and Vicky, the admin support I had with me. We decided that the ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach would be best for him and Dad agreed with this. I, of course, was the ‘bad cop’ with the cryo gun!

'Charlie came to my clinic last week and he was more exuberant than ever. ‘Look they’ve all gone!’ he shouted as he danced into the clinic room, ‘my skin is all better!’ He was over the moon that his skin was clear of all the warts.'

After meeting Charlie, it soon became evident that he was into superheroes and Captain Underpants was his favorite. I had never heard of this superhero before, so treating Charlie was a lesson for me. We thought Charlie was a superhero himself and after gaining verbal and written consent from his Dad, I was able to spray Charlie’s knees and one of the warts on his hand for a few seconds.

I wanted to reward Charlie and arranged a timely meeting with my colleagues in the office. We created a Superhero certificate and a ‘goodie-bag’ to give to after his next session. I learn all about Captain Underpants and his partner Super Dipper Baby and ordered colouring books to keep him busy.

Charlie had a course of four treatments. He made our day and was always delighted with his reward, usually expressing his happiness with a little dance or song. Charlie came to my clinic last week and he was more exuberant than ever. ‘Look they’ve all gone!’ he shouted as he danced into the clinic room, ‘my skin is all better!’ He was over the moon that his skin was clear of all the warts.

Mum said that they thought of cancelling the appointment but Charlie wanted to see us. He had made a thank you cards for Vicki and myself. Inside he wrote, ‘Thank you for making my skin better.’ I had a wonderful drawing of Super Dipper Baby in my card and Vicki’s card featured Captain Underpants himself. Yes, a tear came to our eyes as we were so touched by what this wonderful little boy had done for us. Mum was just smiling from ear to ear.

We were pleased that Charlie’s warts had cleared but of course, we were also sad we would not see him again. Fortunately, Charlie’s parting words were: ‘if my skin gets bad again, I will give you a call okay?’ And then he was gone.

Charlie with nurse Julie and PCA Viki.

We all have learnt so much from Charlie and are thankful to him and his parents. We’re delighted that we were able to enter his fantasy world of Captain Underpants and help him. I also now have a supply of superhero certificates for our younger patients and a unicorn suitcase full of goodies to reward these true superheroes.

'Charlie’s parting words were: ‘if my skin gets bad again, I will give you a call okay?’ And then he was gone.'

I am incredibly grateful that my colleague Jess, who puts together the admin support rota, was able to ensure Vicki worked with me when Charlie was going to be seen. Charlie’s story is an excellent example of how teamwork and communication can lead with an excellent outcome, all due to the clinic staff, managers and of course the leader of us all Charlie.

For more stories like Charlie's, visit our blog page.

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