• 1965, the year that changed my life
Chris goes to Devonshire Road hospital
Chris wrote in 1967: "I was discharged from hospital, and saw a psychiatrist regularly at the Victoria hospital for several months. At the end of this time he advised my parents to take me to see a neuro-surgeon at Newcastle-on-Tyne. I went, and was admitted into the Newcastle General Hospital where I spent three months. During this time I underwent a seemingly endless series of tests, in which fluids, rays and electricity were pumped through my brain in order to get a clearer picture of what was going on inside. In the end I had to be put under anaesthetic for even the simplest of these tests, because otherwise I was violently sick. I was discharged from the Newcastle hospital and sent home…"
1. Chris was discharged from Devonshire Road hospital, and saw Dr. Cashman regularly at Victoria Hospital, Blackpool, for nearly three months.
2. Chris was off school a long time. It got to about late October, when it was suggested that he should be kept behind for a year at Baines’ Endowed School; by that time, it was thought to be too late for Chris to join the grammar school. And he went into hospital the following month, anyway, for three months, so going on to Baines’ Grammar School would have been pointless.
November 1961 to February 1962
3. For Dr. Cashman advised Chris’s parents to take him to see a neurosurgeon at Newcastle-on-Tyne. So he went, and was admitted into Newcastle General Hospital.
In the early stages, before he went to Newcastle, Chris was taken to Lancaster Moor hospital, probably twice, for EEG tests; and he just had the tests and they went home again, and nothing untoward happened. But here in Newcastle, although it was all right to begin with, after a few of the tests Chris started having problems. He was being given one or more EEG test a week, where electrodes were attached to his head; and he found that the two at the front caused him to have a headache. Then as soon as the test started, he started being sick. So before the tests they gave him Pentothal injections, which made him feel as if he was floating, as he hovered between dozing and waking states.
He underwent one lumbar puncture, a procedure where a tube is inserted into the spinal canal to test the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid. So there was that, making a hole in the base of his spine; and there was another time when they made holes in his neck. One morning, when he woke up, his neck was very stiff and he couldn’t raise his head for a while; and he discovered that there were two sticking plasters, covering holes, one on each side of his Adam’s apple. This, he may have been told, was for an “angiogram”.
 Angiogram: a radiological picture of blood vessels.February 1962
4. After three months in Newcastle General Hospital, Chris was discharged and sent home.
Chris Woodhead, February 1962
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