Beeping | A Mental Journey

As it beeps, you reach over, for what seems to be the hundredth time today, to silence it’s incessant calling.  It seems to realize it’s own strength. Just as you slip away into a state of deep thought. Thoughts maybe of a place where touches aren’t painful and liquids aren’t poisonous. It just knows. It knows that exact moment to scream at you and pull away from any peace or moment of day dreaming.

What do you want this time? You wonder if it’s calling you to bring you back into it’s little claustrophobic prison. Or, does the call mean that the poison is complete and you are free. Regardless, it is this nagging sound that reminds you of your connection. Your bittersweet ties to this machine. You are stuck. It maybe for a few hours, it may be for a few months.  Nevertheless, it has become your “lifeline” and your world. And, the very thought of it makes you want to curl up and hide.

It is the I.V. pole. It is the PICC or the Port. It is this connection to the fact that you are not “normal”. You are not free. And it cries without warning to strip your freedoms.

As many of you know, we have spent many hours and days in the hospital at UCLA, Santa Monica. And, we hate it. (My mom always said not to use the word hate, but really I think it works well in this instance). It is not the people, for they are priceless, loved and forever appreciated.  And, it is not the care of UCLA, for it is fierce and prized….   For it is the noise, the smell, the little room, the lock down. And, to escape is forbidden. Sometimes you don’t even have the energy to try and escape.  You are not allowed until that controlling machine grants you freedom.

Sometimes we try to flee into another person’s written worlds, but alas there are times when reading is too tiresome. For many patients they are unable to focus, physically see, keep their eyes open that long or make the effort.

So, it is my mission to bring a small moment of mental freedom for those traveling this journey. This departure arrives in the form of the arts; film & music.

You know that feeling you get when you sit through a film and you forget your physical location. You are swept away in a kiss, a battle, a touch, hope. As Roman Polanski said, “Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater”. I think it should make you forget you’re tied to that machine, confined to a bed or room.

My goal is to supply the 26 beds at UCLA Santa Monica Oncology floor (a place that has saved Steve’s life this far) with the items below AND, if we can do really do it, the 26 beds at UCLA Reagan where Steve will receive a stem cell transplant and be literally confined to his room for 3-4 weeks without fresh air or open doors (we have our own PS3, so steve’s got plenty to do if we can just figure out how to hook it up to the worldwide web… sorta)

  • 26 (or 52 including westwood) DVD players. (the hospital will probably buy in bulk)
  • 8+ Nintendo Wii Consoles (the hospital believes the benefits of getting some people – as long as they are doctor allowed – out of bed and playing Wii fitness will be priceless)
  • Wii Fitness Games
  • Wii Trivia Games or any Wii games at all
  • DVDs of all kinds: comedy, romance, action, documentary
  • Music CD’s
  • Cables
  • Batteries
  • I know you’d like a monetary goal. If we can at the very least get the DVD players and a substantial movie library… It’d be around $3000-$4000. BUT I’d love to get the Wii’s as well. So that could be up to $7500.

    How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special?
    How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”
    -Marley & Me
    Steve can!!

There are 5 ways to donate. Unfortunately, UCLA has yet to jump on the ever so effective way of online donations (sorry UCLA). So sorry it’s a tiny bit complicated.


Check payable to:  UCLA Foundation and they would need to reference 4SW Oncology/SMUCLA Steve Dickter DVD Fund

Send to:

Becky Mancuso-Winding
Medical Sciences Development – UCLA
10945 Le Conte
Suite 3132
Los Angeles, CA  90095

They will send you a tax deduction letter at your request.


Call Rosemary Chiaverini directly at (310)206-0500. Please reference your donation to:  4SW Oncology/SMUCLA Steve Dickter DVD Fund

They will send you a tax deduction letter at your request.


OK. REVISED – this is now tax deductible.

Follow link:


You can mail or drop off the following items to Kathleen LaPlaca or Pattie Jankel

  • DVDs
  • Nintendo Wii Games
  • Music CD’s
  • or brand new DVD or Nintendo Wii


Kathleen LaPlaca
Unit Director Solid Oncology 4SW Unit
SM-UCLA Medical Center & Orthopaedic Hospital
1250 16th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

***if you’re in hollywood, let me know. you can drop them off at Biscuit Filmworks or I can come get them!

***if you’re in santa monica, you can drop off at GARTNER, contact:  Michelle Grassmeier. Email me jenberry(at) if you need the address.

***items can be used


If you’re finding yourself upon hard times, I’m so sorry. You can still help by just passing this link to 10 of your friends that may be able to even donate $5 will be much appreciate. Hey that’ll buy some batteries or a cheap used DVD.


We learn how to kiss, or to drink, talk to our buddies–all the things that you can’t really teach in social studies or history–we all learn them at the movies.

~ Jack Nicholson

Thank you again. I know we often post about donating, but this is for a specific fund raising that will bring much mental relief to, not only us, but other people close to us.

And look at this little guy who has shown his support