A Dialyzor: one who must accommodate stage 5 chronic kidney disease through dialysis and dialysis compatible living choices including diet, medications and exercise.
I think language is important. When I am in the doctor's
office, the dialysis unit or hospital then I think the term "patient"
is appropriate. When I am referring to something that happened when I was in that role then the term patient is appropriate. However, the vast majority of the time I am not in a
medical place of business and I rarely need to refer to something that happened when I was in a medical business relationship. This, I believe, is the word's fundamental
flaw: the word ‘patient’ indicates a business relationship.
Some of the other terms that have been suggested to replace dialysis patient – client, consumer, customer – all highlight that what is being described is a business relationship. Living with CKD5 takes far more effort than establishing a handful of business arrangements.
The term ‘patient’ as a blanket term, really only fits people with acute diseases. Outpatient dialysis is for a chronic disease. The term ‘patient’ fails to acknowledge the 90% of the time that the dialyzor is solely responsible for his or her care. The term dialyzor applies 24/7/365. It applies when we are on dialysis but it also applies during the vast majority of the time when we are living our lives off the machine. A dialyzor is proactive. A patient is reactive. A dialyzor does. A patient is done to. I am a dialyzor.
I know that there are objections to the word dialyzor. It sounds too like the word for the artificial kidney, “dialyzer”, but I'd prefer we keep dialyzor and instead say artificial kidney. If we call the artificial kidney the dialyzer then what does that make me? The dialyzee? That sounds too passive to my ear. If we must say dialyzor and dialyzer then we should emphasize the "zor" and "zer", rhyming dialyzor with pour and dialyzer with fur. No one confuses pour and fur.
Some (cough, cough, Gus, cough, cough) have said it makes us sound like we're robots or it is too techy sounding. Zach on the IHD board has suggested renalist. Renalist has some advantages - it would accommodate those with a transplant - but to my ear it describes an attitude rather than a person. I would say that a dialyzor is a renalist. And I have grown to like the -or suffix. It's a good suffix. Matador. Ambassador. Dialyzor. At this point I'm one out of three, but there is still time.
I've also heard a few doctors use the word dialyzor to describe a colleague who has a deep understanding of the dialysis process. I'm sympathetic to this usage. I greatly favor nephrologists who understand the subtle intricacies of the dialysis process and equipment. If this meaning gains favor and usage then I will accept it but until Google references this meaning I claim dialyzor for those on the sharp end of the needle.