Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It didn't hit me till my drive home...

Perusing these pictures you'll see a common theme:  The outdoors is Gates’ playground.  It didn't hit me till my drive home from the hospital, this poor outdoorsman has been jailed in his medical cell for the last 14 days.  His smile, upon me entering his "new digs", said it all; he's thrilled with the change in scenery.  Gates is now in rehabilitation.

Gates quiet moments will be displaced with grueling physical therapy.  “It’s a boot camp,” his therapist, Brandon Sulser, told me. 

His morning workouts begin at 9:00am and run for two and a half hours.  He’ll get a break to rest and eat till 1:00pm and then back exercising for another three.  The hospital staff encourages visitors to come after 4:00pm, as the therapy is necessary for Gates’ recovery and interruptions impede that process.  At 8:00pm he’ll start to wind down for the evening, as stamina and strength are necessary for what the next day brings.

"Hard as things seem today, they will be better in the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day with your whole heart. Your circumstances may not be improved in all the ways which you desire. But you will have been given new strength to carry your burdens and new confidence that when your burdens become too heavy, the Lord, whom you have served, will carry what you cannot." - Elder Henry B. Eyring

Gates looked incredible today.  We talked for some time about his situation and about the response he's received, not just from this blog but the many letters, Facebook messages, texts, visits and phone calls.  When I told him how proud I was of his attitude he said, "This is my situation and I have to make the best of it.”

We dialoged about a number of different topics.  He’s not in pain and said he “definitely feels stronger today.”   

Gates then shared with me an experience he had with Garrett, the friend who was with Gates at the time of his injury.   Some time ago, the two of them were in a car accident, where Garrett's side of the vehicle received the impact of a T-Bone collision.  As Gates told the story, he paused for a moment, looked down and swallowed.  “I'm not getting emotional.  My throat is just dry." He explained.

As we concluded our discussion, Brian mentioned how many times this blog has been viewed and we scanned many of the comments people shared.  Gates began to express his feelings; this time I question the dryness of his throat as his chin quivered, he paused and said, "I didn't know so many people cared."


  1. Gates you are absolutely amazing!!! You have inspired my life in so many ways. Seeing you smile in your pictures and being yourself just shows how strong you are. You have taught me to be enjoy the little things in life and gain spiritually strong. Not one day goes by when i am not thinking about you, and as always i pray for you with my full heart each day. You're a great person and i love you!! Keep holding on:)!

  2. I got to work tonight with great news. I asked staff members, "Did Gates go to rehab?" They told me yes :) It made my night...keep up the faith Gates...we'll miss you in STICU, but you have absolutely inspired all of us. I truly mean that...it was a blessing for me to be able to take care of you :) Thanks for your example and good luck with your new adventure :)

  3. Yes! Gates you made it too another level...You will do great in therapy. You have such a great attitude.You mentioned that you didn't realize how many people care about you, that is a forsure thing. Your a great example & inspiration too everyone. Yesturday my visiting teacher's stopped by my house & one asked how you were doing, I said he is amazing & he has taught me so much faith & is a great example. I showed them your pitcure that i got when I went too your farewell & with tear's they said Heavely Father has a different mission for you. I said "yes" Gates has already mentioned that & he told us that his mission has already began. We love you so much Gates,Thankyou for the example you are too me. Good luck on your new adventure you will do wonderful!!!

  4. Hey Gates glad to hear your doing so well, you are seriously one of the strongest individuals I have ever met. Keep it up your doing an awesome job. We are all supporting you Gates! I have a few classes with people that went to Woods Cross and we all agree that our graduating class of WX 10' has never been so strongly united together, and its all because of YOU and your ability to bring people together. We love you! Hope to visit you again soon!!
    Love , Rachel

  5. Right on so happy for you to be moved into rehab!! Kick some butt in there :) Keep your chin up sounds like you have a lot work ahead of you, but from the sounds of it your a VERY strong person and will keep amazing everyone around you with your progress :) It has been a long time since the last time we saw you but when you're feeling up to it I would love to come down with my mom for a short visit :)
    Love to you all XOXO

  6. Hello Gates! You don't know me.....I am a friend of your Aunt Sue! She shared this blog with me and asked for prayers on your behalf. I'm now addicted to reading this blog to learn of your latest triumphs and you have been and will continue to be in our prayers!

    I believe in miracles and your experience is another witness to me of Gods hand in the lives of his children. Clearly you are an amazing person and will change this world for the good in ways you can't even begin to understand! Your faith and your strength has strengthened me!

    Lots of love to you and your sweet family and to the wonderful person providing these detailed updates! Know that you are being prayed for by the Whitmore family in Seattle, Washington!

  7. Gates! I am so glad to hear that you are rapidly progressing! Make sure too keep those physical therapists busy, I know you can do it man. I love this picture of all of us, good times. You didn't have your swim suit so you used mine and I was only in my speedo haha I love you man, keep up the good work and stay strong. You have and continue to inspire so many people, I have so many people down here at college and in my ward that ask how your doing and they have never even met you. Know that you are in the prayers and hearts of so many people that you don't even know. You have done more for me than I can express, thank you so much. Stay strong bro, I will see you soon!

  8. Gates! I am so happy to hear all of this! I know you are going to do everything it takes to overcome this situation. Im so proud to call you one of my closest friends, you have become my inspiration. I am just so excited only about 3 weeks and I will be home for about 2 and can't wait to spend some time with you! I still continue to pray and think about you all day every day! I wait up every night till 2 a.m. Arkansas time, and if i fall asleep my body automatically wakes up at 2 just to read this blog! I love you so much and I am so proud of you! Glad you got that sprite! ;)

  9. Hey Gates!! You don't know me, but I'm a fellow Wildcat alum! My thoughts have been with you since day one! You seem like such an amazing, strong person!! Keep up the great work! I'm so happy to hear of your progress and about the sprite! You are an inspiration to many :)

  10. The Hunsakers are an amazing family and much can be learned from them and Gates at this time. They were our neighbors for a few years and my son babysat the kids. Our thoughts and prayers are with them daily and especially with Gates as they all go through this trial.

    Jim and Marilyn Stephens and family