Laurel Creek Music Designs

How I Managed Diabetes Melodious

For the benefit of those who didn't purchase the CD, I'll start by explaining the basics of how the diabetes gear became part of the instrumental ensemble. If you've already read this section, feel free to skip to the advanced treatment found under the next heading.

Picture: Veronica at the mixing console in her studio. This picture appears on the dedication panel of the digipak.

The Instruments of Diabetes
If you live with diabetes, then you already know how often during the day you hear those familiar sounds of diabetes management. Naturally, I had to make those sounds a part of our CD. So I recorded the sounds of several blood glucose monitors, insulin pumps, lancing devices and test strip bottles, which I used or borrowed. Yes, many finger sticks were actually done in the name of art! Just imagine this as you listen to some of the unusual percussion sounds. It was also quite entertaining having to explain the extra boluses which showed up on my insulin pump's log! At least now I know exactly where the speaker is on my pump!

I selected 161 sounds, which I  then placed into a sampling synthesizer and assigned to keys on my keyboard. Since I have not processed or altered them at all, if you listen carefully, you just might recognize your favorite brand of device.

Diabetes Instruments:

Insulin pumps:
Disetronic H-tron V100
Disetronic D-tron+
Smiths Medical, Deltec Cozmo 1800

Blood Glucose Meters:
FreeStyle Lite
FreeStyle (original)
BD Longitude
Compact (Yes, left this one out in the CD package material)
Accu-Chek VoiceMate (the talking meter)
Sof-Tact (the all-in-one meter that lances and has a vacuum pump which seals against your arm as it draws the sample)

Lancing Devices:
BD lancing devices
Sof-tact meter
Unbranded devices which came with the mentioned meters

But what was that weird sound anyway?

Okay, did you grab your meter or pump and let it sing along? Did some device whose been hidden in that drawer in your bedroom start beeping because he or she felt left out? Did you think I made all of this up? You mean, you couldn't identify all of the orchestra members? Did you figure out why even your dog joined in?
Okay, I'll answer the dog question first. No, that wasn't your imagination. You did hear a dog singing during the second verse of Track 5, "Honey, Are You Low?" If you've heard any of my other recordings, then you'll understand that they just couldn't resist the invitation. If you'd like to know how they came to sing on this CD, feel free to take a sniff at How The Guide Dog Glee Club was created.

But probably the most unusual sound on the album is the Sof-tact meter by Abbott. Since this meter is no longer sold, some of you may have never met it. So I thought I'd give you the chance to hear it here.
Here's how it works:
One can do an ordinary finger stick with the Sof-tact, but it's attraction was its ease of use as an alternate site meter.
First, you put a lancett and a test strip into the meter, then close the hatch.
Then, you hold the meter against the testing site and push the only button. When you do this, the meter forms a vacuum around the site, lances, and schlurps up the appropriate amount of blood.
Listen to the vacuum sound. You can hear this sound very clearly at the beginning of track 11, "A Tough Guy".
Once the meter has been properly fed, it releases the vacuum and begins the actual testing process.
Listen to the release sound. You can hear this sound at the end of Track 11.
Once the test is finished, it gives a rather common sort of beep and displays the result.
It has a huge display with very large numbers.

Some other unusual sounds included:
Compact meter: It featured strips that came in a drum so you wouldn't have to handle individual strips.  Listen to the sound of the drum rotating to the next strip. Yes, this sound is also heard most prominently in Track 11.

Cozmo pump loading cartridge: Just in case you don't own an insulin pump, this may not have been so obvious either. Listen to a cartridge loading. Gee, guess where you can most easily find this sound!

Recording these quiet, delicate sounds was quite a challenge. But fitting them into a musical arrangement was really tricky. I had to choose my other instruments carefully so as not to drown out those all-important sounds of our every-day life. I had to make sure that each sound I chose was reasonably in tune with the rest of the ensemble. And trust me, beeps can be deceiving! And of course, each finger stick had to happen at just the right time. And even playing with them in computer software, I had to repeat some of them several times!
If you're interested in knowing exactly what hardware and software I used, check out the list of the tools that brought these diabetes numbers to you.

Otherwise, have all these sounds of finger sticks sent you scurrying for more tidbits?
Or did they make you want to jump right to the order page?
Don't forget to see if your friends are tough enough to visit this site.

Diabetes Melodious copyright © 2010 by Veronica Elsea

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