"I can't find the courage to go back for a colposcopy"

About: Hemel Hempstead Hospital / Accident and emergency St Albans City Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks. Twice in the last decade or so I have ended up in A & E because of terrifying attacks. I am sure I am not alone in this. It is a medically recognised condition. But both times I was told to "pull myself together". If I could do that I would not have ended up in A & E.

In January 2008 I was due to have a colposcopy under general anaesthetic. Just getting to the hospital was an ordeal. I was panic stricken. Just about coping until the anaesthetist took my details.

I am 5' 3" and weigh nearly 8 stone. Ok, so I smoke. Me and countless others. But I was told in no uncertain terms that "We don't normally treat people like you". People like me! What am I? An alien?

She then told me I could vomit under the aneasthetic but she'd "just have to aspirate". Needless to say, this caused full on panic and I left. Got dressed and just left.

This was well over a year ago. I've lost faith now. I had abnormal cells after a smear test. Because of my experience all I can think of is what has just happened to Jade Goody. But I don't trust anyone anymore. What did happen to "ours is a duty to care, not judge"? I cannot summon up the courage to go back and have that operation and be treated like that again.

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