Though I'm not denying that the patriarch's condition is probably more serious than the MP would like to let on, obviously you guys have never been to a hospital in Russia. I know that general public healthcare is horrible, but for people of importance, and people with money, it is very good. My sister, while doing post-graduate studies in St. Petersburg, was hospitalized for 2 entire weeks and had minor surgery for a prepetual sinus infection, one that she had, for 2 years before that, been given antibiotics by doctors in America, and then told to go home. Lo-and-behold, she hasn't had sinus problems since. Russians are very very particular about their health, especially the older people. If you've ever told a Russian you have a cold you'll get 10 different remedies in as many minutes. My babushki were constantly bereting us about not wearing hats, warm shoes, or showing up on a 50* degree day with nothing more than a long sleeved t-shirt and on. As soon as there was a sign of a sniffle, out came the tea with honey, and the words "see, I told you it was too soon since your last cold to be going around dressed like that!"
So in conclusion, (there really is one, i swear), the patriarch very well might be ill with something more than a cold, but it's also quite possible that the man is considering his age, and wants to regain his stamina in a quiet place where he has no worries and will be pampered to no end, before he goes on with his duties.