Princess... Hospice will NOT put him to sleep with morphine if he doesn't need it. It is there IF he needs it. What he gets will depend on his pain symptoms. My dad was much as yours is now up until 48 hours before his death. He tried to get up but would only fall if he made it far enough. He slept most of the time. He nibbled on some scrambled eggs on Tuesday and died on Friday at sunrise. He had a small dose of morphine twice and that was it. He was under the care of hospice for over 6 weeks. Yep, I bought the ensure and quickly realized that it was not beneficial. My sister tried to feed him thickened liquids and he aspirated. I would have done anything to keep my Dad alive. He was my rock.
My daughter had been here the weekend before he died to visit with him. He was alert on Saturday even calling me by name and recognizing her. But I could see the tired in his eyes. Sunday, he slept all day to make up for the energy he exerted on Saturday. Monday I knew. Yet Tuesday he was up and nibbling on eggs that were fed to him. Wednesday and Thursday he didn't get out of bed.
I did exactly what Lynne said. On Wednesday morning I was with Dad alone. I told him that I would be ok. I also promised him that I would take care of Mom. I told him if he needed to go home, he was free to do so because I was strong enough. I ask him if he trusted me. He laid his hand on mine and there was a twinkle of a smile. Beyond that he said very little. Thursday he ask where his wife was (we put her right beside him) and then he said "pull me up". I thought he wanted to sit up. But then I noticed his stare was fixed on the ceiling. That was followed by the words... "Lift me up". And then he said.... "Absolutely beautiful". He closed his eyes and peacefully died 18 hours later with no morphine.
I have come to realize that Dad fought hard for 32 years. Each time we would put him on that air lift helicopter or he would head into the heart cath lab he would say to me... God's not done with me yet. Yes, he fought death. He fought it until he was nothing but skin and bones. It was only after Mom reached a point in her dementia that she is now happily oblivious that he is even gone and he knew I was strong enough to take wonderful care of her that he finally left. I don't look at that process as horrible. I look at a man who loved his family so much that he willed himself to stay. I admire his determination. But it was his time. I didn't want him here choking on liquids and battling pneumonia. Yes, I wanted my strong rock of a Dad back but that was not what he was. I gave him permission to leave. As I said before that was my last unselfish act for him. Beyond that I accepted his death. Yes, it still hurts and it probably always will. But that is not from the process. That is from missing the physical presence of my dad. Was I scared to lose my Dad... Hello yes!!! I was not sure what I would do without him. But in the month since his death I have figured that out. I will go on living because that is what he would want me to do... and I will take care of Mom until her last breath. I will forever carry him in my heart and he will be proud of me. He raised a daughter just as strong as he was. I remember when he lost his Mom. I want to be the person he was then.
Please don't shut Hospice out. They are there to help you. I know it is a struggle and if you sit long enough and feed the birds you can keep the the inevitable away. I wish that was true. What I know to be true is that you need those caring supportive people with all the right answers close by. What you don't need to do is be alone. They will give you space to be with your father but you also need to give them the liberty to help you through this time.
I didn't take an old horse out and shoot it. My dad went in his time and in his way. He went quietly and peacefully without medication... and I had a wonderful nurse and social worker from Hospice there with me to hold me up and support me. They helped me make all the necessary arrangements as well and dealt with the funeral home and even the death certificate. And when I wanted time with my Dad... they left the room. But I knew they were just a few steps away. No, I didn't shoot the old mule. I held his hand and they held mine