Finger Wave

by | Feb 6, 2021

Older men sometimes suffer from an inflamed prostate. A method of treating this used to be, maybe still is, to do a prostate message.  To perform this the physician inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and with some degree of vigor waving the finger over the prostate to encourage drainage.  The procedure is often referred to as a finger wave and is of no great pleasure to the patient or physician, but it was therapeutically effective enough that patients would voluntarily return requesting a finger wave.  During my time in Slaton, TX. 1959-1960, I had a number of patients on whom I had to perform the maneuver several times. One of those patients was Mr. Kitten.

One day in 1968 my wife and children and I went to Lake Buchanan, Texas to visit my parents where they had a small cabin on the lake, some 350 miles from our home in Jal, NM.

We went out to have dinner at a restaurant one evening.  As we were eating I saw a man at a table across the room who kept looking at me as if he were trying to recall who I was.  I remembered him as a man who had required a prostatic massage  by me a number of times.

We continued our family meal and I kept glancing toward his table and the man, Mr. Kitten, as I recalled kept looking at me with the puzzled look.

I decided to end his wonderment and got up to go to the restroom and passing by his table.  As I neared his table he reached out for me and said, “ Who are you?  I know you.  I know I know you.”

I stopped, raised my right index finger and made the motion of doing the finger wave over his prostate.

He slapped the table loudly, jumped up and gave me a hearty handshake as he shouted, “Dr.Schmidt. It’s Dr. Schmidt.  Now I remember who you are.”  The whole restaurant was watching, but neither of us alluded to the finger wave as the signal to how we knew each other as we caught up on his farming activities in Slaton 300 miles away from our chance meeting and my medical practice in Jal.