By 10.30 my head was down the toilet as I contemplated the contents of my stomach.
Stef came home at around 11.30ish and soon had me set up in bed with a bucket, a glass of water and a looroll - the bucket was emptied twice and he hasn't stopped commenting since on the radioactive shade of green my stomach lining comes up as.. I was not a healthy bunny.
My temperature must have been off the charts - but I wasn't sweating. I was unable to stop retching even after there was nothing left to produce - it wasn't fun, at a couple of points in the night he asked me to go to the hospital but I knew it'd stop eventually - and I couldn't face the journey there or the wait in A&E once we got there.
Anyhow, by some godforsaken hour of the morning on Friday I finally managed to fall into a fevered doze and hold down a full glass of water.
Sadly when I woke up it was with blocked sinuses, a throat that felt like it'd been scrubbed with a wire brush and just that general all purpose 'man I feel crap' sensation of having the flu.
Since Friday I've alternated between waking and sleeping - light sensitivity and headaches have been the least of my problems, I've practically none stop sneezed (3 rolls of loo paper I've used!) and I swear at some point I must've hacked up a lung.
what's more upsetting is how far back it's knocked me physically - it's pretty much exactly how I felt when I was first off work with 'an unidentifiable malaise' before they diagnosed me with cfs. In the course of 4 days I've gone through the first 3 months of my illness again - and it sucked!
I'm obviously starting to feel better today, I've managed to eat something other than watermelon without feeling even slightly nauseous (touch wood) I can talk coherently and it's not taking me three hours to conjure up a paragraph of writing - you don't know how frustrating that was - especially yesterday when I was venting my frustrations at the governments latest financial set back for me.
I was roused out of bed by the doorbell (or so I thought, just ear the infection ringing again) but when I saw the letter from the dwp I assumed it was informing me I need to re-do my claim soon.
Imagine my shock as I opened the letter to see the words:
ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF £650.79 THAT MISS VJ STRINGER STILL HAS TO PAY
After the first initial panic cry I sat and thought 'hang on, this could be one of those phone scams..' so I booted up the net and checked out the phone no. Nope, no joke - therefore it had to be a mistake because I have no debts other than my overdraft, I'm very careful to ensure everything is paid up on time and in full - where I'm aware a debt is owed at any rate!
I rang up the 0845 number on the letter and sat in thequeuingg system for about 30 minutes before I got through to a lovely lass called.. um.. Jeanette orJacquelinee - sadly my memory is pants and I neglected to write that down..Oopss..
Anyhow, she managed to tell me (after a little checking back) that the reason they are taking a third of my benefits off me each fortnight is to pay back overpayments over the last 10 years.
That's right TEN years.
From 9/9/1996 - 18/5/1997 they say I owe £575.83
From 18/9/2000 - 9/10/2000 they claim I owe £129.96
Now, Not only do those two sums not add up to the total amount the letter said I owe But how am I supposed to check this is even right? Lets face it, only an idiot would trust the governments record keeping - added to the above example; the time they suspended my benefits until I could prove where the amount from a cheque I deposited into my account came from - it was from them, back dated from their last record keeping error!
To get back to my point though - how on earth could I prove this is a debt I do not owe? For one thing, as far as memory serves, I've never had income support, which what they say the second amount is for - never mind between those dates!
Sadly I've only got my cv as proof of the job I had at the time, I'm not one of those really organised people who keep payslips forever.
I can't even afford to get my statement copies from the bank - even If I could - I don't have the concentration to go through all those transactions looking for some kind of proof they're wrong.
Basically I'm screwed.
I was just about keeping my head above water before - now.. Well, best case scenario is that I only have to pay if for a month or 2 until she can get this form to mapparentlytly the lass I spoke to has to get my file sent to them before they can request a form sent out to me, so it'll be at least 4 weeks before I can even think about receivinging it) once I have this form I'm to ring them and go through all my expenditure and hopefully they'll stop taking a third of my income.
Until then.. Well lets just say I'm glad Stef won't let me starve!
I'm going to have to stop buying in the supplements though - I can't drop my mobile because I'd renewed the contract before this letter came so I'm tied into that for another year.. Basically there's nothing else I can cut out - I was subsisting on the bare minimum anyhow, now my overdraft is the only lifeline I have - and that was already being stretched more than I liked, now I'll get to see the limit with no hope of paying it back *sniff* Me no like this!
I'm going to the doctors on Tuesday ( it was the earliest they could fit me in) so I'll see if he has any suggestions regarding my supplement loss but I can see another rapid loss of all the improvement I made this year - and there's nothing I can do about it!
It makes me so mad..
But what can you do eh?!