I was assaulted by 4 youths one evening in San Francisco as I was walking down Dolores St. in 1981. When I saw them, I briefly wondered what they might want, but as it's not unusual for people to be hanging out along the street in San Francisco, and I'd never had any problems before. Also, as it was 6:30, it wasn't at all late, although it was dark and had been raining. As I passed them, one was on the sidewalk and the other three were opposite on some steps, the first one hit me in the head with a club that was evidently hidden in his sleeve. Almost immediately, the other 3 started hitting me in the face. The first thought that went through my mind was that it was very important to stay on my feet. It took all of the strenth I've ever had to exert to do this, and to this day I'm amazed as it left me with a major scar on my scalp. The next thought I had was to make a lot of noise, so I let out a big howl and they were gone. They never said a word and didn't give any indication of what their motives may have been. I stumbled to the corner, aware that I wasn't able to see out of my left eye. I assumed that my lid was swollen shut. I was also bleeding profusely from my nose. I came across a Hispanic man who was shocked at what he saw, and he stayed with me. Soon after that, another man exited the apartment building on the corner and said he'd heard me yell. I asked him to call 911, which he did. He also brought a towel to help with the bleeding. The Hispanic man was very upset and angry about the incident, I might add. After a short while, the ambulance arrived and helped me inside. As I was sitting there, the cops drove up and poked their heads into the ambulance. They smirked and started to ask me the standard questions. I asked them to take my name and address from the state insurance card I had given the EMT's, but they curtly replied that they had to get it from me. They asked me to describe the attackers, but I wasn't able to as I was trying to ignore them and mind my own business. They smirked again, apparently forgetting that I wasn't trained to size up everyone I saw as a potential suspect. Then they asked for the address of where they were standing. I simply said I didn't know, not bothering to add that I didn't think of stopping to look while I was trying to stay alive. They acted as if I was wasting their time, and I got angry and told them that they weren't going to find them anyway, and that they only went after the "easy stuff". At that point they left. I should add that the substation for that part of town was later subjected to a major shake-up in commaders, partially due to problems such I as experienced. Part of the problem was that most male victims of assault were assumed to be gay, regardless of whether they were or not, and there were lingering resentments after the riots in 1979 following the Dan White fiasco. I was taken to the hospital, passing a small but notorious housing project, Valencia Gardens, a block or so away. One EMT said that my attackers were probably from there. When I arrived at the hospital, I was wheeled into an examing room and quickly attended to by a number of nurses and doctors. One nurse said she was going to wash the glass away from my left eye, and it was then I realized that it had in fact been injured by fragments of glass from the glasses I'd been wearing. They'd fallen off as I was stumbling down the street, and I just left them, realizing that they were not worth retrieving. Soon after than a doctor said I would have to undergo emergency surgery to repair the corneal laceration I'd sustained. I soon became hysterical, and remained in that state for at least a couple of hours. The worst part was waiting in xray. There was a Chinese man who'd been hit by a car and who was groaning and yelling in pain the entire time. I contined to cry hysterically, but also felt a strange detachment. There was a rational voice telling me that it was appropriate to be in such a state in this situation. Gradually I started to calm down, and was taken to the ophthalmology clinic, where a 4th year resident examined my eye and informed me of what he needed to do. He said that he'd need to remove the lens, as it was damaged and would develop a cataract, and I told him to do whatever he needed to do. He also finally gave me a shot of Demerol for pain and I calmed down quite a bit. Eventually I was taken into the OR, and later awakened in the recovery room. From there I was taken to what I later found out was a neuro ward, since they rarely had ophthalmological inpatients, and thus didn't have a separate ward. I later awakend to find myself feeling extremely peaceful. I was actually reviewing my life to determine if I'd been through anything as bad as the previous night, and ultimately concluded that this was indeed the worst thing I'd ever experienced, and could have in fact died had things gone worse. I spent 6 days in the hospital, mostly because they wanted to be sure that I didn't contract any infections. The resident was extremely arrogant and treated me more like an object than a real patient who might actually be able to understand what was going on. I even had to show another resident how to use the slit lamp to examine the surface of my eye! He never did treat me in a respectful manner, and the last time I saw him, he coldly stated that I could try to get more treatment for my eye, but that I'd probably never be able to use it again. It was as if he'd lost all interest. While he did a great job repairing the laceration, he couldn't have been a worse doctor, and I'd never see him as a private patient. I can only hope he's outgrown his childishness and learned to better respect his patients. While he may be an accomplished eye surgeon, he needs to acknowlede that his patients may be equally as talented in things he could never acheive. continued . . .