It was mostly better than I expected. Mom really did make a number of compromises - the biggest being that she allowed us to tape the light switches on her fridge and freezer. She really hates that, but she understands that that's the only way we can help out. She also watched tv in her own room, not in the living room and allowed us to keep lights on all the time. This is also huge for her. In return, I said nothing about preparing one day for the next - it makes her feel better (and gave my father-in-law something to do) to set the table on the first day for the second.
I couldn't help much during the first seder because I was seated awkwardly - in the middle of the row next to the wall. Best I could do was joke with the ladies on either side, which was fun, too. For the second seder, we both flanked my father-in-law, which mean Jonathan could give him little hints about what to do and I could take care of things like the Hillel sandwiches (iin our family, tiny sandwiches made of finely grated horseradish between pieces of matzah.) His hearing is very bad, but we found that subtle little touches did the trick nicely. '
Also, this year, my mother-in-law paid her cleaning lady to wash the dishes during the seder, which made a tremendous difference for everyone. She also seemed to enjoy watching us. We finished sufficiently late the second night that she had to leave before she could wash the final bits, but I was happy to do that (it really doesn't take a lot of time to wash ten wine cups.)
Otherwise - the food was wonderful. One of the other guests the first night brought a lot of three-mushroom farfel kugel, and it was delicious - especially with the turkey. The soup was good as usual - Mom is a terrific cook, as I said. We didn't bother with gefilte fish because my father-in-law is currently on low salt and that's hard to get unless it's made from scratch and neither of us were willing to do that.
Jon's sister-in-law was ill (and otherwise, would have had to work since she was unwilling to tell her nursing school that it was a holiday),so she wasn't there. Mom sent my brother-in-law and their little girl home with a massive care package. On the other hand,Jonathan's nephew, a giant 22 year old, was there. He's a non-religious Israeli who is here for a year or so. He's going to work in a sushi restaurant and he just got an apartment in Queens. And he's very sweet and helpful, and put up with the long Orthodox seder before he could do what he really wanted to do - EAT. :) Being both Israeli and non-religious, he didn't come for the second one - Israelis don't do second day yom tov. (And when I saw that towering young man, I could not find the six year old who fit in a large box of packing peanuts on the eve of our wedding.)
We went to shul the first day, but it rained the second, and I don't go to shul in the rain. Jonathan did, though. Instead, I read. And helped prepare lunch and dinner. After yom tov, Jonathan and his father played recorder for forty-five minutes or so, and then we finished packing and got a taxi home.
Daddy's illness a couple of months ago hit him hard. He's been sick before - he has chronic mild emphysema and had pneumonia a couple of years ago, plus he lost his hearing on one ear due to an acoustic neuroma and in the most of the other because he used to play trumpet in symphony orchestras. He's certainly lost all his higher range of sounds - good thing my mother-in-law is a contralto. But otherwise, he's been very healthy and very active. And, at 85, his memory wasn't what it was. And, like that of his son, it was never very good unless it was something that really intersest him.
But this is something else. He had congestive heart failure - which they only discovered because his weight suddenly shot up twenty pounds in two weeks. All of it, of course, *water*. He was in the hospital for days, bored out of his skull and being treated like an idiot because he didn't have his hearing aid. It takes time for anyone to recover from that, and he *is* over 85. And he's gone from *no* meds to a half-dozen types of pills.
So, he's weak, and he's sleeping all the time, and his memory is even worse - he's become vague. He's never been vague. And he's aware of this, too. The diuretic is keeping him up all night. His reaction time is down - he has not been cleared for driving. If he isn't able to drive, they cannot go to their country house this summer, and they love their country house. And driving has always been an important thing to him - he enjoyed that he could drive as quickly (sometimes faster) and as well as younger men. It's only in the last year that he's allowed me to drive in unfamiliar places - and that's a concession as much for hearing (he can't hear directions) as anything else.
So, we're all worried. He and Mom think he's being overmedicated, although an email exchange with his doctor says that only his digitalis could effect him that way. Still, they're getting his blood tested today.. Personally,and with no training so I could well be wrong, I think he's depressed. I think that being *this* ill for the first time in a very long life has hit him hard and he's having a difficult time dealing with it. And he's just not the sort of man who will go in for therapy or antidepressants, even though it's probably a temporary thing that, as he gets healthier again, will go away.
Jonathan thinks he might have had some damage because his brain was not getting enough oxygen during those two weeks.
So. One theory will provide a quick fix. One will never be fixed and one will take time. Or it can be combination of all of them. I do want my funny, sweet, kind, brilliant father-in-law back and healthy. Not just for his sake, but for my mother-in-law - they act like they're just married half the time, and if something happened to Daddy, God forbid, it would kill Mom. And as much as I complain about her, I love them both very much and worry about them.