Patient Stories


Herb Fine: Still Going Strong

Herb Fine is 92 years young. A veteran and retired lawyer, Herb has always had a passion to learn and to live life to the very fullest. He practiced law and worked in the courts of New York City for many years. Even at 81, he attended classes at the Florida Atlantic University Division for Lifelong Learning three times a week. He and his wife of 67 years, Lucy, have raised three children and traveled extensively – all over the world.

Herb and Lucy moved to Maryland in 2005 as Herb had had several operations to his right hip and they wanted to be nearer their family. They bought a home in Leisure World, a Silver Spring community that bills itself as ‘The Destination for the Ageless Generation!’ Today, Herb continues to take classes at the Center for Lifetime Learning at Leisure World. He enjoys writing and publishes articles and anecdotes in the Leisure World News.

Through the years Herb suffered many health crises – multiple hip surgeries, he has only one functional lung and he has had a stroke. Feeling the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (PN) – pain in his legs and feet – he was diagnosed with PN in 2004. He learned from his neurologist that there is no cure. He can only walk about 20 paces with his cane before he has to stop to catch his breath and he has constant, severe pain from his PN. The Veterans Administration provided him with an electric wheelchair and you can be sure it never stops! It is what he calls, “An essential element of my ability to function.”

With Herb’s positive attitude, he has not allowed the obstacles of PN to take over his life. He continued being active and, after finding other people at Leisure World also suffering with PN, in 2008 he decided to form a support group. Leisure World provided a meeting site…the rest is history.

They started with 8 people in the group; there are now 177 registered members of the support group. They meet once a month inviting healthcare professional speakers, including physicians and nurses, to come and provide educational information and resources to the group in a positive environment. Our Executive Director, Pam Shlemon, was the speaker at a recent support group meeting on ‘Nutrition and Exercise.’

Herb uses several drugs rotated through the day and night – trying to alleviate the pain…all to no avail. He uses foot creams and ointments when the redness, swelling, and pain in his feet become really severe. The creams help, but he still awakens every 2-3 hours each night.

In spite of his health issues, Herb is committed to one hour of exercise each day. He has installed side bars on the toilet to help him maneuver, and uses them to do pushups. His active exercise routine is 80 pushups, 80 leg kicks (to the side and the rear), and 200 heel or calf raises (raises on his toes) – three times a day. For each set he adds some sitting and floor exercises – leg raises, then lying on his side and pointing his foot up and down. He said he recently sprained his shoulder but he is working through it! He and Lucy still drive but they have to stay local and he is feeling the need to discontinue some of the activities they have always enjoyed.

Herb recently celebrated his 92nd birthday with champagne and cake. As Herb says, “We’ve had great fun; it has been a wonderful life.” What an inspiration!

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