VANCOUVER -- A former high-ranking BC RCMP officer, Al Macintyre says he’s faced many dangerous and difficult situations in his career, but nothing has been tougher than his personal battle with COVID-19.

Speaking from the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Vancouver General Hospital, Macintyre says he’s spent the past 22 days in hospital.

“(I’m) so appreciative for what people do here. It is a world-class place,” said an emotional Macintyre.

It was in late March that Macintyre developed what, at first, was nothing more than a simple sniffle.

“Within days it manifested itself into more bronchial and more almost like asthma-type stuff and I knew I was in trouble,” he explained.

Macintyre and his wife Sylvia would both end up in the same hospital where his daughter and son-in-law work. His other daughter also works in health care.

“My wife and I were both brought together because we were both sick,” he told CTV News Vancouver. “We had been so careful.”

Isolated in the emergency department, he could see his wife through the glass in her own isolation room, but Macintyre’s condition deteriorated. After they were separated, he wondered at times if he would ever see her again.

“I became so sick, I had to be intubated and then they insert a feeding tube … Then they tie you down so you can’t strip away or rip away at the various devices because it is very overwhelming.”

He says through the fog of sickness, he can’t forget what it was like to be restrained.

“Never having been restrained in my life, that’s a horrible feeling,” he said.

Macintyre says nothing in his 39 years of policing could have prepared him for his fight against a vicious virus.

“I’ve been shot at a few times, had bad things happen, but nothing prepares you for this,” he said, fighting tears. “You can’t summon the strength to get up to fight this. It’s just not in you. It’s as low and down as you can get.”

“Sorry for being emotional, but it just brings back these memories. I don’t want to ever go there again.”

Macintyre says it’s frustrating hearing about things like the beach party in Kitsilano last weekend and other instances of people blatantly ignoring health rules.

He says health-care workers are exhausted.

“They are so good to us. And we treat them so poorly and disrespectfully because they ask us to do one thing: stay home. And we don’t do that.”

Macintyre’s wife was released from hospital this week.

He also hopes to go home soon and says he is getting a little stronger each day.

He is urging people to do whatever they can to help stop the spread of COVID-19. He also says he’s forever grateful to the staff who cared for him.

“They bring you back to life,” he said. “They really do.”