I Almost Died… And How Social Media Helped Me Made It Better!

How your community can be a rock of support at a time of crisis

Brian Basilico
7 min readMay 16, 2020

Two Brands

If you are somebody who’s running a business, owns a business, or working in business — chances are you have two different brands on social media. You have a personal brand and you have a business brand. People will form opinions based on what you post in both, but sometimes they merge. A lot of us work hard to keep them separate, but they often have to be bleached to show the better side of business. I’ve often said, “You can’t post about politics, religion, or sex,” sex meaning men versus women. But, sometimes those streams will cross and you have to be able to deal with it.


A few Sundays ago, I got sick. At first, I thought it was food poisoning but it was much worse. My wife went out to get me Gatorade in the morning and came back and found me collapsed and incoherent. She called 9–1–1, and I ended up at the closest ER. I had no clue what was going on. I was sitting there, and I asked the doc, “Hey, when can I go home?” He looked at my wife with a worried look and looked at me and said, “Maybe a week or so.” I said, “What?”

What I did not know is I was a few hours away from dying. My wife saved my life. I had sepsis, which is a blood virus, and my BP was super-low but my pulse was super-high. The next thing I knew, they were sticking a tube down my jugular and pumping me full of drugs. I was moved to the ICU where my wife said, “Oh great. The neighborhood Facebook group has a message about you getting carried off in an ambulance.” I had a sense of dread and embarrassment. I felt weak. What if my clients found out? What would happen to my business?

Actually, what was happening was a prayer chain. Some of my neighbors are friends, so it started bleeding into my wife’s Facebook profile, my Facebook profile, and eventually, it was all over social media, including LinkedIn.


After two days in the ICU, I was able to get my laptop, and I had to type up some kind of cohesive message that would let people know what happened, where I was, and what was going on. I had to be careful. I didn’t want people to know that I was weak. Also, I didn’t know exactly what was going on. They were still trying to figure it out. I left my phone on as I was trying to sleep, and I kept hearing this ding, ding, ding, ding. My phone and my Facebook went crazy. It was amazing the amount of heartfelt thoughts that people were sending me.

A couple of days later, one of my friends posted an article about sepsis, and there were all of these people coming in and talking about their story. Themselves, their husbands, their aunts, some who made it and some who didn’t. What I did not realize while I was sitting there in the ER is that look my doctor gave my wife was saying something like this. “Ma’am, your husband has a 50–50 chance of going home alive, but we’ll do our best to keep it on the positive side.”

Over the next days and nights, I was basically just an octopus of tubes and beeps and bops. They were pumping me full of all kinds of antibiotics, and they still couldn’t figure it out. Then finally, they came in and told me what it was. It was sepsis and it was dangerous. I had no clue.

The bottom line is, I made it. After three days, I was moved to a regular room where I finally got to eat something other than jello and broth. I was like, “Oh my goodness, give me that roll.” It was awesome. It took another day or so to make sure that I was okay, and then they finally let me go home.

Free At Last

Now I’m at home trying to recover. After a day or so, it started to snow. I felt blessed to be alive, but too weak to shovel, and my wife couldn’t shovel. It was time to eat my pride and ask for help. I went back to that same Facebook group, my neighborhood group, and I asked, “Is there anybody who has a teenager who wants to earn a couple of bucks? We have a snowblower, I’ve got shovels, I’ve got everything. I’ll open the garage, send him over, name your price, please do this.”

Within two minutes somebody said, “I’ll be over immediately. I’m bringing my shovels, and it’s on me, I’m not charging you anything.” A couple of minutes later, I look out my second floor window at my driveway and there’s a truck parked in front of it and a guy in a jacket. I don’t even know him personally. I probably have met him in the neighborhood, but he’s out there just shoveling away with two shovels. And literally, it broke me up.

As the days went on, more and more people started commenting. It was hundreds and hundreds of people commenting on Facebook posts or replying to my wife. It just kept growing — the amount of support and the amount of love. I listened to their stories and I realized it was okay. It’s okay to need help.

A couple of days later it snowed again; and all of a sudden, I hear a snowblower. I look out my window, and there’s another neighbor going up and down my sidewalk and doing my driveway. My wife opened up the door and yelled, “Thank you.” We don’t even know who it was. It was amazing to see this outpouring of support from the neighborhood.

I remember years back, probably 15 years ago, when one of my neighbors had cancer. Without prompt or expectation, I would walk over to their house with my snowblower and do the exact same thing. I forgot about it until I was on the receiving end. I felt guilty, but then all of a sudden, I understood the karma of paying it forward.

Now, I feel weak and humbled, but I realized something from all of this. For all of the divisive posts and the junk that’s posted on Facebook, there is this underpinning of empathy, caring, and community hidden beneath the decay. It rose up like a phoenix, lifted me up, and frankly, made me cry tears of joy. It’s amazing when you see the power of social media from that light.

Final Thoughts — Power Of The People

I’m on the road to recovery, but with a renewed faith in mankind and a new respect for the power of social media to still do good in this world. You may have two brands, but you only have one life, and they will forever be intertwined. What I learned from this experience is, you reap what you sow. The bottom line is, be the best that you can be on social media. Don’t lie, don’t be disingenuous, don’t be inauthentic. Just be you. If you have stories, please share them on the comments.

I want to thank you all, my readers, for your help, your guidance, and your trust. I’m sharing this story with you so that you can pay it forward and do good for somebody else. So that one day when you need it, you can feel the positive vibes of what you sow.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the two different sides we show on social media. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/



Brian Basilico

Brian is a syndicated blogger, podcaster, and a sought-after guest expert featured in Entrepreneur and Inc., magazines, Over 500 shows on “The Bacon Podcast”