Passing kidney stones is no picnic, but I can tell you from personal experience, it's a world of hurt better than having one get impacted. I had one get impacted, way too big to pass through the plumbing. The pain sent me straight to the ER three times. I saw a urologist, who thought I should try and wait it out (for what, I don't know). He let me suffer for three full weeks of agony before finally surgically removing it through the plumbing. It was way too big to be broken up ultrasonically. I've had two really bad kidney infections during my life, both of which put me in the hospital for a week each time. A chunk of one of my kidneys is calcified, i.e. permanently rock solid, and both are chock full of stones. The urologist is just letting them sit there until they decide to give me a problem again. It's a whole lot of fun knowing that I've got these ticking time bombs just waiting to go off at will. Doctors....AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!