Today I was hit by a car on the pedestrian crossing in front of my hospital. A young lady driving a small car saw me crossing the road but didn’t want to stop; she continued her journey after hitting me, as if nothing has happened. Our eyes crossed moments before the collision – we saw each other – but she didn’t give me the right of passage. She didn’t even stop after my body and her car collided. She kept driving as if I was invisible. She didn’t seem crazy or confused – I blitz-diagnosed her. She was only impertinent and insensitive. The other people around us turned to see the scene and then continued what they were doing. I was left shocked on the pedestrian passage, cleaning my trousers and trying to look decent.
I live in a dark society where people have lost their minds.
However, I am one of the psychiatrists who perform the psychiatric exam for the driving license. This means that, sooner or later, most of the people in this county will see me or my colleagues. This also means I partly gave the green light for the driving permits currently being in use on the streets of the county.
Today I want to write about retards. People with mental retardation.
As one might imagine, if you have mental retardation you are not allowed to drive. Mental retardation is diagnosed essentially by performing an IQ test (intelligence quotient evaluation). This IQ shows if the person has the mental abilities required to understand what is good, what is bad, and what the consequences of her actions are. Apart from the level of intelligence, I am also evaluating the person’s ability to focus attention. I usually test this by using the MMSE question for attention: how much is 100 minus 7. If the person in front of me is intellectually trained at the level of elementary school (at least 4 school years), she should know the result of 100-7. It is not scientific superior mathematics. It’s something usual, practical, like going to buy a product that costs 7 euros with 100 euros; in theory, one should know how much money the seller should give back.
Well, during the last year or so, since I do these evaluations for the driving license, I got numerous results for 100-7. Most people know the result, but about half of those I ask this question give me results like 98, 96, 84, 86, 79, etc. During the last period however, I began to get more and more answers like 30 and, surprisingly, someone told me that 100-7=136. Without exception, everybody giving the wrong answer had a training equal with or superior to 8 years of school.
This means one thing: the population is slowly becoming retarded. It’s a functional retardation. If tested for their native IQ, they should probably be in the norms or low-level, but given the fact that the education in my country has been ruined by incoherent reforms, it produces functional retards, people who are not able to calculate how much is 100 minus 7. The graduation certificates lack value, as they say nothing about the true abilities of their holders. And, in a standard (international) psychiatric test, when asked how much 100-7 is, these people brilliantly fail.
I encountered on several occasions people diagnosed with mental retardation, who came for reassessment (a periodic medical assessment is obligatory every 10 years in Romania). They were driving with this diagnosis for 10 years and they were also receiving handicap pension from the state. It was the occasion for numerous threats and bad language when I decided to withdraw their rights. In a way, those people were right: after 10 years of driving a car, a doctor strips them of their permit. At their level of mental retardation, this is an abuse from my part.
I remembered this when I was hit by that lady today. She didn’t seem retarded at all. She knew the result of 100-7. But there is a general decay of the society and unfortunately I cannot stop this. I am the powerless witness of the general retardation of the people around me – functional retardation or not, the outcome being the same.
And I feel lonely.