Power returned for most in Grand Strand, but those without facing real concerns

Power outage has serious implications

The storm-caused power outage has affected Tim Townsend's health. He has dietary needs due to diabetes.
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The storm-caused power outage has affected Tim Townsend's health. He has dietary needs due to diabetes.

Gina Townson’s concerns about finding a place for her husband to get dialysis kept the couple from evacuating their Socastee home ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Sunday morning, Townson’s Jack Russell Terrier Baby Girl walked out along the edges of their lawn as she finished a crossword puzzle sitting on a lime green fold-out chair with one of the armrests broken, 80s music softly playing out of a battery-powered radio.

She was trying to keep herself entertained, she said, before having to pick up her husband Tim from dialysis at DaVita in Market Commons.

The local electric companies had restored power to most Horry County residents by Sunday, but Townson was one of about 3,500 Horry Electric customers still waiting.

Townson has aggressively been trying to find her husband of 29 years a kidney donor for more than a year.

“He promised me 50 years (of marriage) ... so I told him he can’t go yet,” she said, laughing.

She’s estimated she’s spent $400 advertising to find a donor — her email is gtownson@yahoo.com — but her primary concern this morning was figuring out a way to make sure her husband remained comfortable.

Clouds and wind had kept the temperature bearable since their power went out Friday morning, she said, but she worried the sun starting to shine would make him sweat.

“If it gets real hot, I’m gonna have to move him to a hotel,” Townson said.

An Horry Electric representative told her their power might be returned by Monday, but they couldn’t be certain, she said.

Her husband typically gets dialysis, which takes about three hours, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but the storm kept DaVita closed on Saturday. She had to make sure he got the necessary fluids to deal with the delay, she said.

He almost died twice in the past year, she recalled, passing out when his calcium levels got too high and iron levels got too low.

“Losing him was my biggest concern,” she said regarding her thought process as the storm approached. “My house, my furniture, you can have that.”

Across the road from Townson, Jon Holt was anxiously waiting for his wife and 14-month-old daughter to return from Charlotte, where they’d been since Tuesday. It’s the longest he’d ever been apart from his daughter, Savannah.

They made the decision to split up because they didn’t want Savannah to deal with the likely power outage and didn’t want to travel with their two dogs, including a 14-year-old yellow lab named Charlie.

Wearing a Carolina Panthers shirt, he admitted he only knew it was Sunday because he was ready to watch his favorite team play the Atlanta Falcons later. He’d also recorded the Pittsburgh Steelers game for his wife.

Holt had his generator running in the backyard, but he said he was limiting his electricity consumption to the refrigerator, television and a few fans.

“It’s still hot,” he admitted, hoping the power would come back on very soon.

A mile down the road, Jennie Moore pushed a plastic tricycle beside Justin Stanly, who was carrying his 2-year-old son, Landon.

They had also lost power, but Moore said Landon was enjoying the inclement weather.

“Every time I get a dry shirt on, he’s back out (jumping in puddles),” she said.

Thankful the storm wasn’t more destructive, Moore said she was currently inconvenienced by the lack of WiFi because she had an online microbiology quiz she was supposed to take Sunday.

Stanly said he didn’t worry too much, and they’ll be fine without power for a few more days.

David Weissman: @WeissmanMBO; 770-377-5326

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