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."