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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: Killer Kidney Stone

By Jim “Pappy” Moore


I only thought I’d had severe pain earlier in my life. A kidney stone let me know what it must feel like to pass a West Texas goat head sticker through your tender innards. I had flashbacks of the episode on Deadwood where Al Swearingen fought it out with his little kidney-bound antagonist alone in his room.


Long ago I was talking about that episode with an old friend and he told me Apple Cider Vinegar was good for helping flush out those bottle rockets. I bought some and put it away for future use. When I dug it out recently the “best by” date was September of 2022. Close enough. I started chugging it. Don’t know if it helps but anything that tastes that bad must be good if people drink more than one swig of it. Yikes.


When I first felt the discomfort in my back near the waistline, I thought it was one of my standard injuries from walking too much or too fast and overdoing it with my back. I’ve had degenerative discs for many years. It does not take much to make one of them angry. The result is stabbing pain shooting out from the backbone.


After several days I began to glean that the throbbing spot would come and go, getting worse at some times than others. It was higher and further from the backbone than my usual midback pain. It was also a sharper pain than usual, and the pain did not occur simultaneously with my bending my back.


By day 4-5 I began having serious trouble even trying to sleep on that side. Jabbing me, hurting me, sticking me rhythmically at the rate of my pulse. It got worse. Day Seven my knees buckled and I headed for Urgent Care, where I got a diagnosis of either a Urinary Tract Infection, or a kidney stone, or both. They said they could take an x-ray but it probably wouldn’t show up. They said the only sure way to know was to get a cat scan. I have a cat, so that part seemed doable until I found out it’s not that kind of cat scan.


They gave me a script for the antibiotic Bactrim, which I had filled and was taking within an hour. Its job is to fight infection and thereby make the passageway of the stone easier as it helps tissue swelling abate. They also gave me a shot of steroids. Oddly enough, I did not get any urge to join the New York Yankees.


Supplemental over-the-counter drugs included ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. My walking orders were to drink lots of water.  I drank lots of water. My appetite waned. My temperature rose slightly. My sleep was wrecked. Wrecked like the screams of a teething baby. 


There is no position you can get into that will keep that killer stone happy. Jab! Jab! Jab! Take that for drinking too many colas until you were sixty-five!


Mafiosi have a saying when they find someone who troubles them: “He’s a pebble in my shoe.” I counter “he’s a tiny but annoying stone in my kidney!” I wonder what Tony Soprano would do with such an unthankful part of his body.


Apparently the main treatment for removal or dissipation of a kidney stone is “suck it up, get tough, you’ll expel it eventually.”  In the meantime, I will continue my regimen and hope the Apple Cider Vinegar really takes the sharp edges off this terrible stone.


Epilogue: and then it was gone. Don’t want to do that again!


Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.


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