Friday, May 30, 2008

The Torments of a Somewhat-Blind Man; Also, Adventures in Formatting. And Spelling. And Punctuation. And...

My glasses passed away on Wednesday. I was cleaning them, and — twang. I super-glued them with super-glue that turned out not to be such super glue after all: it fell apart. They are now held together with electrical tape, but sit at a slight angle so that it is uncomfortable to look through them for long periods of time. And they cause people to burst into sudden fits of laughter when I am seen wearing them. To make a long story short, I took a long lunch today and visited an optometrist.

My last visit to the optometrist involved a glaucoma test that required me to remain still while a javelin-like device approached and made physical contact with my cornea, but thankfully today's glaucoma test was of the much less Olympian air-puff variety. The eye exam commenced with me being handed a spatula and asked to cover my left eye and read the writing on the wall; unsure of which blurry white block I was supposed to be reading, I simply replied that I couldn't read any of it. The optometrist informed me that I was looking in the wrong place and made an adjustment, but still nothing. We repeated the process several times with growing consternation on his part until finally he said, "I'm sorry, you're supposed to be wearing your glasses for this test." We continued on through an explanation of why he considered it good business to ask personal questions of his patients and advice on budget-conscious menu selections at Maggiano's Little Italy. As we began determining my new prescription he asked, "Can you read that?" and, once again, I had to reply, "No." "No?" he asked, surprised. "No," I replied, "I'm sorry, but your head is in the way." It all worked out well in the end, and I should have my new glasses in 7-10 days.

As if all of this wasn't excitement enough, the optometrist's office also introduced me today to a document so spectacular that I cannot help but wonder at its origins. It is the optometrist's Notice of Privacy Practices, and each and every fascinating line of it so fills me with wonderment that I actually kept and read it. Oh, you doubting Thomases, must you see to believe? Very well, here it is, "de-identified" (click for a larger view):

What, you ask, are the particular spectacularities this document has to offer? I give you a brief selection:
  • On the third line begins a sentence that reads in full: "THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAYBE [sic] USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION." I dare you to find all of it. I double-dare you not to laugh.
  • The entire document is so completely centered that it actually serves to emphasize the only element on the page that isn't: the web address.
  • I point this out separately because I had no idea it was even possible: the second set of bullet points is both centered and justified (each point at different widths), and at least two paragraphs are centered, justified and first-line-indented.
  • The apparent disdain on the part of the author for the period, and a compensating affection for the comma, even at the end of paragraphs.
  • Even excluding the words following the rejected periods, the apparent randomness of capitalization almost makes me want to pull out all of the capitalized letters to see if they spell out a secret message. Included (mid-sentence) are a number of instances of the words "You", "Your" and "We", at least one instance each of the words "To", "And/or" and "For", and the following phrase used as a complete sentence: "For Public health Purposes."
  • Some typos that may actually introduce legal problems, for instance in the following sentence: "We respect your legal obligation to keep health information that identifies you private." Speaking from five years of experience in the medical insurance field, I am not sure that HIPAA would agree with the substitution of the word "your" for "our".
  • The misspelling in one instance of "Notice of Privacy Practices" as "Notice or Privacy, Practice".
  • A pretty jim-dandy use of the word "fur".



On a side note, please let me know which you prefer: one of my new designs, or this (not designed by me). Make sure you have your speakers on when you pull it up. As the site says, view it in Internet Explorer for full effect.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

I still like the current design.

But, wow, the rainbow waves on that other page you link to make my head smart... No one would ever read your blog anymore. The reason not being avoidance of head pain, but, rather, the simple fact that they just couldn't actually make out any of the letters on the page...

wow.

Oh, sorry you're so blind, man. :-p

Saturday, May 31, 2008 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger treeinforest said...

I'm just saying...it could be worse.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger cate mcmillan said...

hey..
so i guess we hardly know each other, and my opinion thus carries very little weight.. but i must say i prefer the current style much better. although, i still miss the old trees in the header..

greetings from europe
cate

Monday, June 02, 2008 7:30:00 AM  
Blogger April Lynn said...

1. PLEASE post pics of your remedied glasses,
2. LOVED your review of the "notice Of Piracy practices" lol, Tho I couldn't locate the mention of the word "fur", I can pretty well imagine what it might have been confused "for",
3. I'm kind of partial to Option 2 - don't ask me my rationale. It's purely emotional,
4. I vote that you should post a disclaimer or warning of some sort for that last link advising those prone to seizures to view at their own risk. If they have questions, they should access their personal health information...somehow.

Hope all is well!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:49:00 PM  

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