History: He performed the first ever lithotripsy - on himself ... with a knitting needle

Romancing the stone: It took him six months of scraping to coax out the calculi

Feel free to pre-emptively cross your legs in discomfort for this one.

When Colonel Claude Martin, a French army officer in the East India Company, developed bladder stones in 1782, he found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Although in excruciating pain, he was rightly hesitant to go to a doctor. The treatment at the time was an often-fatal perineal lithotomy, where surgeons cut out the calculi — sans anaesthesia.

So Colonel Martin decided to take matters into his own hands.

The fearless Frenchman fashioned a special file from a roughened knitting needle, thrusting the instrument up his own urethra and poking about in search of the stones.

His wince-worthy case was published in the Medical and Physical Journal in 1799:

"I began to file the stone in the bladder in April in 1782, and ... it soon made an impression upon the stone and brought away