February Heart Awareness Month Pt.1

February is Heart Awareness Month, and we spoke with one of the staff of the Highland Medical Center to learn more.

“I’m Taylor Webb, and my new last name is Lightner, kinda have to let all my patients know that too – I married a local guy. And I’m working at the Highland Medical Center, and I am a nurse practitioner there.”

She talked about how she came to the area –

“I have no connection to this place. In 2019, I was going into nurse practitioner school and thinking ‘I really want to work in a rural environment where I think health care is needed.’”

“I was living in a city at the time, and there’s tons of hospitals around, people can go to the doctor on every street corner almost, but I just had this brewing passion. So decided one day I felt like I needed to explore parts of the country, and one place I really wanted to explore was West Virginia. Because I had never really been there and never heard much about I – kind of heard, maybe rumors or just, you know, hearsay, but wanted to see it for myself. And I went and visited and I loved it, it felt like ‘Wow, this seems right and it was so beautiful.’ And I spent time in Harpers Ferry, Seneca Rocks and Marlinton – so, very close to this area, unbeknownst to me, I would end up here, loved that trip and just kind of kept it in the back of my mind for job applications.”

“I applied to lots of places in Alabama where I came from, and it just didn’t seem right. And I’m kind of a fate person, so I just felt an inkling that I really needed to look in the area I had visited. And this job was on the HERSA website – it’s a government run website, they really are trying to recruit people to harder to reach areas, or places that are medically underserved. And I applied and started interacting with Tish and it just seemed like ‘OK, I think for some reason these doors are opening’ and this seemed right, and took a leap of faith and moved up here, and it worked out.”

“Do you want to give a shout-out to the local guy?”

“Yeah, I have to say hi to Jake – love you –  jake Lightner, he’s at The Highland Telephone Cooperative.”

And explained more about Heart Awareness.

“The heart is one of those central primary organs in the body, and a lot of times it’s not something you can really feel necessarily. But we want to keep the heart and the vascular system, where your blood kind of flows throughout your body, as healthy as possible to promote longevity and long life. A lot of the ways we can do that is, we want to make sure cholesterol is good and in check – that’s part of a normal yearly screening. And then, there’s just measures that we like to check, like we like to look at an EKG, looking at the heart rhythm, or the electrical pulses that we all have in our hearts. Are they firing correctly, or is there something that might at some point lead you to a really negative thing like stroke or heart attack that we could find early? We can do that as a baseline test – just come in and we can just check your heart rhythm. And then we like to ask you a bunch of questions to see like, how are things functioning asking you about symptoms you may or may not experience that could potentially be coming from a heart related issue.”

“The thing that’s really important to me, and what I would like to harp on the most, I guess in talking about a Heart Month, is that I like to emphasize to patients, the huge importance of lifestyle, exercise and diet as the main component that’s going to keep your heart ticking the longest and healthiest, and also create the environment in your veins and arteries to, sort of lower the pressure and allow for you to have great blood flow, and just have a long, healthy life. So those are the things that are really important to me to stress.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story where she expands more on those three areas of emphasis.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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