Laptop saved woman hit by falling branch

Not many people can say their laptop saved their life.

For Amy Armstrong, the dents in her laptop left by a falling tree branch that also fractured her back are strong proof.

Ms Armstrong was walking past Dunedin’s Museum Reserve on January 6 when she heard an almighty crack.

‘‘The last thing I remember is a branch from the top of the tree coming towards me.

‘‘At first I couldn’t feel anything ... no sensations except for this crazy tingling in my hands.’’

Then came the ‘‘excruciating’’ pain.

Dunedin woman Amy Armstrong says she is lucky her injuries from a falling branch were not worse. Photo: Craig Baxter
Dunedin woman Amy Armstrong says she is lucky her injuries from a falling branch were not worse. Photo: Craig Baxter
‘‘I wasn’t talking, because I was just trying to manage the pain.’’

The incident took place during a day of wild weather in the city, which downed many trees and kept emergency services busy.

After an ambulance trip and five hours in hospital, she learned she had fractured her L1 and L2 vertebrae.

She also had a concussion.

Since then, her recovery had been like a full-time job, she said.

Her pain was being managed, and she was getting physiotherapy.

‘‘Every week, I can see I’m a little more mobile.’’

She found a creative way to channel her feelings about the incident, in the form of a poem.

‘‘It was really therapeutic.

‘‘There was a bit of a trauma, because I remembered the image of the tree falling and the sensation afterwards — it was really scary.

‘‘It was sort of good to get it down and name it.’’

She had two perspectives on what happened. On the one hand, it was incredibly bad timing that led to her being under the tree at the precise moment the branch fell.

On the other hand?

‘‘I had my backpack on with my laptop in it, and they reckon that saved me from further damage, if not losing my life. It took the brunt, it was buckled in half.

‘‘It could have been so much worse.’’






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