Have you ever met somebody, said 'Hello, how are you?' in a friendly way, only to be greeted by a blank stare, absolutely no recognition, just a look of slight puzzlement?
This happened to me quite recently. I'd gone out for a meal with a group of friends, went to the bar to get a drink and on my way back to our table met a lady I thought I knew and greeted her in the above manner.
Now, I pride myself on my memory for faces - I just can't always remember from where I know said person, hence this incident.
As I sat drinking my G&T waiting for the food to arrive, I mused quietly on how I knew this woman.
I then remembered quite clearly - she was the nurse from my Doctor's surgery who'd done my smear test. In a way, I suppose it's reassuring and a relief for all concerned that she didn't remember me.
The reason I'm sharing this story with you now is that I recently read that the number of younger women going for their smear tests has fallen dramatically, one of the reasons they gave is because they are too embarrassed.
But as this story from the Helen book of personal experiences illustrates, the nurse performing your test won't remember you. It's just part of her job, she's literally seen everything before, and there's no need to be embarrassed.
Having had a friend die of a gynaecological cancer in her thirties, I cannot emphasise how important it is to go to the Doctor's and get your check-ups done.
Please go and have your smear test, or if this isn't relevant to you, encourage your wives, partners, daughters, friends etc to have theirs done.
During the 80s, the slogan used for the AIDS campaign was don't die of ignorance. I think we need to adapt this and say to women please don't die of embarrassment.