I saw my new doctor a few days ago (my beloved one of 16 years prophetically retired at the end of 2019). I hadn’t seen her since we first met about 3 days before the world shut down last year. This week I was there for a basic check-up. For the first time in 20 years, the primary focus was NOT my cranky back. That deserves a get-to-know-you appointment all its own.
As the nurse was checking my vitals, she told me to lift my mask so she could take my temperature.
“Wow! That’s old school!” I said just before she plopped the little rod under my tongue.
Apparently the digital thermometers aren’t as accurate…and they are breaking from so much COVID screening use. So the in-office folks are using the old fashioned thermometers that Millennials might mistake for a stylus. The nurse told me as much.
“Anyone under 25 has no idea what I’m asking them to do. They’ve all grown up with digital forehead thermometers.”
As I was silently musing feeling a lot 53, the nurse handed me a sheet of paper and announced, “I have a little quiz for you!” Having not been a student in over 30 years, I was both terrified and excited.
The paper was titled “MINI-COG CLOCK DRAWING TEST” It had a large circle with somewhat (intentionally?) clunky instructions to draw a clock reading 10:45.
I stared at the circle with confusion and a teensy bit of panic. Not because I don’t know how to read an analog clock (indeed, my left wrist sports an adorable one featuring a wide-eyed donkey). I was bewildered to be at an age that I am now being given “does her brain work” tests.
Spoiler alert: it does. At least by this measure.
I later asked Rob – who saw our doctor a couple of weeks ago – if he had taken the Clock Test. He hadn’t. He is two years older than I am, so I blame my cranky-back-dictated Medicare-based insurance. It also is the culprit behind so much mail about hearing aids and Playskool-inspired cell phones.
As I confidently handed in my completed pop quiz, I wondered what a Millennial or Gen Z kid might do with the test. Other than fail it miserably and be considered an early candidate for Memory Care. I have encountered a number of teens and younger who have no idea how to read a clock with hands and a circle of numbers. Reading a clock and writing cursive are apparently Old People Superpowers.
So what is a MINI-COG test going to look like in 30 years? What Olden Days Superpower will Millennials dust off to prove they’ve still got brain synapses actively firing? My proposal: typing a text message using a number pad on a flip phone.