My wife and I are close to the end of our journey, but with our interview in just 9 days, we've had to face another major road block. We are the end of our ropes, and both of us have started to accrue the symptoms of depression.
On the 25th July, I had my medical done at CityMedin Auckland (3 weeks before my visa interview scheduled on August 14). Everything went well on the day. On Wednesday I receive a phone call saying the doctor may need me to do another X-ray. The nurse asked me if I had TB before, and I've never had it (nor have any symptoms) so I of course denied it. She told me there was some mind scarring on my left lung which could indicate past TB. I strongly feel that this could be because of my smoking habits a couple years ago. I used to be a chain smoker but haven't smoked in a year.
So, yesterday when I called, the nurse informed me that the doctor has cursed me to the worst test of all time: the infamous Sputum test for AFB (acid fast baccille) and culture, testing for TB.
Now, here is the problem:
I have spent hours and hours and hours reading about this test, and people everywhere mention that while the AFB part of this test is quick and simple, the "culture" part takes 6-8 weeks. This is EVERYWHERE.
On VisaJourney (mostly all St. Lukes/Philippines)
On the TB guide for US Panel Physicians by the CDC:
You will find words like "6-8 weeks", "upto 6 weeks", "at least 6 weeks" mentioned everywhere.
So the DELIMMA:
I first talked to the nurse and asked her how long this would take, and she used words like "instant" and "instantaneous". I then talked to the lab technician who gave me the sputum sample boxes and asked her. "3 working days", she said. Unsure of this, today I saw the same lab technician when I went to hand in my sample, and she once again assured me of this.
ME: I know you said that it takes 3-4 working days yesterday, but are you really sure about this? Because it's culture for TB, not just the AFB part. From everywhere I read online it seems to take 6-8 weeks.
LAB TECHNICIAN: Yes, I'm sure, yes. It takes 3-4 working days. TB culture, yes. You shouldn't believe everything you read online.
Unless NZ has obtained a new type of culture test (possible), I am shocked that she's telling me that the culture test for TB only takes 3 working days.
You may feel that I am overthinking this and I should just wait and see instead of posting on VJ, but here's the deal:
This little piece of information affects everything. My visa interview is in 9 days, so it affects whether or not they'll get the results in time (or if not in time, if just a few days here and there VS 6 weeks here and there). It affects whether they need to postpone the interview or have it anyway and wait for the results. It affects my wife who's been waiting for 13 months with me in this part of the world, and is pregnant - we are unsure if she should go back alone before me. And it affects my life and work over the next 2 months, because I do not currently have a job (I don't live in Auckland so we are staying in a motel - costly!) - and how/where would I able to work if I am sure about how long and in which country I'll be in.
TLDR; My sputum test, CityMed says, is going to take 3-4 working days including culture. Has anyone ever experienced this? Has anyone ever had a sputum test done within 3-4 days, including culture?
Thank you in advance!