Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The exorcist strikes!

I was sat quite happily watching TV on Thursday night when the queasy feelings started, at first I tried to ignore them and concentrate on my program but by 10pm I'd had enough and decided to go to bed and try and sleep it off.
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.
If only!
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?!

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