The quiet revolution is going on all over, if only we stop to notice it. My brother brought to my attention a new, as he called it, ‘interesting medical website’ (if I didn’t have family, I’d never have anything to talk about). The website is called INOD.org, which stands for In Need of Diagnosis. INOD.org is a Florida-based patient resource organization, which is working to change the face of medical diagnosis.
Over-worked doctors who rely on the results of common tests can sometimes miss the 800-pound elephant in the room. INOD strives to give people access to doctors who can think outside the box of applying obvious disease labels to conditions that end up being not so obvious, doctors who have not yet been so indoctrinated into accepting test results over the evidence before them.
In addition, INOD stresses the simple point that patients are in charge of their own bodies. Patients who document symptoms, patients who question the automatic responses of doctors, patients who keep track of how medicines and life-style changes affect their bodies, and patients who seek to inform themselves about the status of their conditions are not the demons that TV programs lead us to believe. Those patients are, in fact, the ones who are doing themselves and their doctors a great service, by bringing all their symptoms to the doctors’ attention, giving feedback on the efficacy of prescribed medicines, and becoming pro-active in their own care.
True, anyone can be stupid when researching on the Internet. But we have been brainwashed into thinking that we do not have the right to question a diagnosis pronounced by a great and mighty M.D., even if what the doctor recommends (surgery) is not our number one choice for dealing with a particular situation, or if the recommendation (just one pill per day) doesn’t seem to be accomplishing what it was supposed to be doing. The most interesting concept advocated here is to manage symptoms, even while a diagnosis eludes the best medical minds. Such an important idea: live your life, even if you don’t know the name of what is bothering you. Don’t wait to feel better while scores of doctors take your money (or your insurer’s money)—if not drinking milk makes you feel better, then stop drinking milk. We have become so used to the idea that a pill provides the only answer that we forget that we can make large, or incremental, changes that in turn make a great difference in the quality of our lives.
The quiet revolution is the taking back of responsibility for our lives onto ourselves. There is so much information available now that we have opportunities only dreamed of by people living just fifty years ago. But we can only take advantage of those opportunities if we act in a responsible, thinking, logical manner. It’s easy to be stupid. The goal here ought to be find a way to manage the glut of information in a way that actually makes sense. Websites like INOD.org are leading the way.