8/06/02 - Path to Recovery - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

8/06/02 - Path to Recovery

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Monday you met Kathy Rhodes, a Jackson, Missouri woman who first noticed see was losing her hearing in the late 70s. Over the years, her hearing got worse, and soon a cochlear implant was her last option. On June 14th, Kathy was in surgery for two hours, she says it wasn't uncomfortable, but very difficult.

Her husband, Pastor Luther Rhodes, says, "Kathy's doing good today, not real good, just doing good." Eighteen days after cochlear implant surgery, Kathy looks good. But it's been a rough few weeks for her and her husband. "There's good news and bad news," Luther says. "The doctor got all the electrodes in that small cochlea and he's never done that before. The second thing is they had to do some drilling away of the bone, to get in all the wires."

The drilling left Kathy with temporary numbness on the left side of her face, something that happens to less than one percent of patients. Doctors say it could be weeks or months before it goes away. "The eye gets very dry, and I wear a patch at night because it can't stay closed and it gets very dry," Kathy says. "Of course I can't smile because I have no movement over there. I have feeling but I can't make it do anything."

It's also caused Kathy to sometimes have a metallic taste in her mouth. But her scar is healing great, and doctors say it's looks like she has no nerve damage. In three to four weeks, Kathy will go to St. Louis, and doctors will hook here up to a headset and a speech processor. The headset and speech processor can't be taken out of they're boxes until the day they're ready to be hooked up to Kathy. The units are necessary in order for her hearing to improve.

Despite the problems with numbness, Kathy still has no regrets of having the surgery done. "I'm optimistic that it will clear up," Kathy says. "I have seen an improvement since we've been home." Luther says, "Everybody's giving encouragement , she's trying to stay upbeat, and most of the time she is, but it's a little bit of a struggle right now."

Wednesday Kathy begins to hear sounds she hasn't heard in over 20 years. Hear her inspirational story as she begins her life over again, and gets a second chance to hear things for the first time.

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