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as i was taking care of one of my patients tonight, i needed to obtain her medication history. she knew she took 62 units of insulin a day...but she didn’t know what type of insulin (first clue).

she gave me her home phone number...assuring me that her husband would be able to tell me.  

i called the house, spoke with the husband but was unable to get any additional information.  

he was holding the vials in his hand but had never learned to read or write. i’m not certain but i really don’t think my patient was literate either. there were little clues throughout the night.

adult literacy is a big problem in this country. i imagine the shame of having to admit you can’t read or write is tremendous. so, people attempt to compensate, get by, hoping their little secret is never revealed.

have any of you ever been faced with this problem...on the job, neighborhood, friends, etc.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Aug 21, 2010
    • yes, and the saddest part was that when I offered people help in trying to learn they refused it, saying they were too old or that it was okay they had someone to help them, when I pointed out the need to be able to read warnings on medications or directions, they just didn’t seem to care. it is a big problem and I still find it hard to believe people would refuse to even make the effort.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Victorious wrote Aug 21, 2010
    • I supervise 6 people and only 2 can read and write well. This is very difficult to deal with as they also lack common sense.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Aug 21, 2010
    • I had no idea. And I imagine the emotional turmoil they go through in their lives. It’s very sad.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Aug 21, 2010
    • This is very sad!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Aug 21, 2010
    • It’s so sad.  I’ve worked with a couple people over the years who, although they can read, do so at a very elementary level.  

      Hubby currently works with a nice young man who is a good worker but cannot read well enough to go take the test to get his CDL (commercial driver’s license).  Of coure that holds the poor boy back at work and cuts down on his earning potential.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Allinet48 wrote Oct 10, 2010
    • frown My father in law is illiterate. He relies on kids for anything written. I just found out after being married for 29 years or so. Now I remember he always called my husband for phone numbers, my husband would tell me he couldn’t read the small print. Now I know why not a book in the house other than a Bible.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Oct 10, 2010
    • My Nana Mary couldn’t read or write she could just about write her name or in a birthday / Christmas card “love Queenie” but at 60 she went on a big adult learning course and learnt to read and write - she then in later years found comfort in reading the paper and magazines
      I have had staff and they compensated by having fabulous memories so they could visualise something ..... its such a shame and we all take it for granted until we see someone struggle and I think it shames some folk so they don’t see help



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