Occupational therapist Lodia’s first traumatic amputation experience taught her profound lessons that she carries with her decades later.
After an M-80 firecracker exploded in his hand, a 13-year-old patient’s index finger and thumb were amputated, but Lodia’s support helped him rebuild his strength.
And she found lifelong friends in the process.
The boy’s rehabilitation spanned about three months, and today Lodia recalls that she learned so much from this experience.
“By discharge, he had regained full use of his hand despite the partial loss of his index finger and thumb,” Lodia recalls. “His mother came to every therapy session even while in her third trimester of pregnancy. The three of us got to know one another very well. A couple of months after his discharge I received a note that the mother had her baby girl.”
This news also came with what Lodia considers an incredible honor.
“She named her after me,” Lodia said. “I still have the notes with her name, birthdate, and weight. I took this as the highest compliment possible.
“In addition to honing my therapy skills, I realized that the personal connections made with patients/families are one of the biggest rewards of being an occupational therapist.”
Occupational Therapy as a Career
Lodia always knew she wanted to go into the medical field and had volunteered in the field in high school.
“I observed a variety of disciplines, but occupational therapy really impressed me,” she said. “The therapy was so purposeful and specific for getting the patient back to their highest level of function, and OTs are trained in the psychological as well as the physical impacts of injury/disease.”
She also was very inspired by the orthotist she met at the Detroit Medical Center.
“The specialty of hand therapy allows me to treat patients and fabricate splints — two things I really enjoy doing,” she said.
Fabricating splints allows her to be creative and inventive, which she describes as an “awesome adjunct to therapy.”
With 31 years of experience as an occupational therapist, Lodia says she loves the diversity of her caseload, as well as the close interaction with the physician.
Lodia has been the occupational therapist at Arora Hand Surgery for about a year, and she has enjoyed building relationships with her new patients.
“The best part of my job is the personal growth that I have gained through the years from interacting with patients of all ages and experiences,” she said. “I have had the pleasure of teaching and guiding them throughout their rehab process while learning so many lessons from them.”