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Pohtaytoh

Please Help!... Cho Ray

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As I've mentioned in previous posts, we're gearing up for our interview coming up on the 28th. We've now been staying in HCMC about a week, and Linh's medical exam was scheduled on the 20th (Vaccinations on 19th). The medical exam was scheduled at Cho Ray. I had reservations about it since it was notorious for bribery, unprofessional staff, and uncleanliness. But, Linh was more comfortable going there, and since she's the one going through the exam and not me, I went along with it.

I was actually surprised because it seemed, at the very least, the visa department seems very professional, the staff polite, and from my wife's accounts were quite clean and didn't seem to accept/allow "coffee money" anymore. I was ready to give full approval of Cho Ray on here since afterwards I also read that the staff in the visa department are actually trained by iom. This all changed when they told us Linh needed a Sputum Culture since she'd had TB four years ago, and they wanted to be certain it wasn't active (as far as I can tell it wasn't since I've been living with her over 2 years now, I didn't catch it and no one in her family has it).

The reason I say it all changed is because the procedure and area for the Sputum Culture (directly outside the visa department) is a complete nightmare. Not only is the staff unprofessional and rude, but the method for extracting sputum is absolutely unclean. They have the "potentially" infected people sit together, UNMASK, inhale/exhale deeply, and cough into a small container to produce sputum. Cough right beside each other in a small general area where the uninfected can be infected.

The problem we have isn't so much this, though it scares us, but Linh hasn't been able to produce a sufficient sample of Sputum to satisfy the nurses/doctors. She's followed the suggestions accordingly. We get up at 5:30am to get to the hospital around 6:00am (they start calling people at 6:30 though she usually isn't called until 7:10). She drinks a ton of water the night before, doesn't brush/rinse/eat/drink in the morning before the sample is taken as instructed. We've even had to resort to buying acetylcysteine a mucolytic agent to make it easier for her to cough up sputum. The medicine doesn't help and no matter what she tries she's unable to produce very much sputum. What really scares us is that she's spoken to people in there who've been at this for 2-3 weeks and more because they are unable to produce enough sputum for them to begin testing.

We're resolved to the extra two+ months it takes to get the results for this sputum culture, but we can't even get to the part where they even begin testing. I've read about other methods of getting the sputum including having a tube go into your stomach to get at the sputum over the course of three days, there's also a salt-water mist using a nebulizer to inhale for about 20 minutes that produces enough sputum to only require 1 day. I really prefer this second nebulizer method, but I don't even know if Cho Ray offers it as an option.

Tomorrow will be our third trip to Cho Ray (two days with no results so far), after this third attempt at producing sputum we'll likely walk back into the medical exam area and try to request an alternative method to produce sputum. Continuing like this with no results just isn't an option.

Does anyone have any suggestions/advice? Anything would be greatly appreciated! :crying:

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My wife went through the same thing at ChoRay..not once but twice. Both times she had problem producing enough sample for the test. The first time, luckily she was able to produce barely enough. However, on the second Medical, she tried for several weeks with the conventional cough method but to no avail. It was a very frustrating process for us and painful for her. After few weeks trying the cough, they collected it through a tube stuck to her nostril. It took four days to collect the 3-day sample for their tests.

I know it is a painful way to collect the sputum but do comfort her the best you can to get it done. I don't know about the third method you mention or if they do offer it at all. They didn't mention to my wife at that time.

I feel what you are going through right now..not to mention you will have to wait for 2-3 months for the culture test to come back. Be patient and hang in there ok..well wishes for you!!!

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The tube through the nostril method is a bronchoscopy where the tube goes directly into the lungs to get the sputum directly. I didn't really want to mention it as a method since it requires some mild anesthesia (or lots of pain without) and a bunch of sanitary concerns as vn hospitals are notorious about not sanitizing their equipment properly :[

We're trying to hang in there as best we can. Thanks for the support though guys! :)

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Ask her to consume "Keo Me Xung". It might help her to produce more sputum. Or eat "Chao", but stay away from "Dau Xanh". Dau Xanh will prevent sputum from being produced.


Just remember, life over there in VN is NOT real! Your money will be worth a LOT less once you get back over here. Back to reality, cowboy!

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I honestly don't believe eating chao or "Keo Me Xung" will have enough of an effect, though she has been continuing to drink the medicine. Otherwise, all these other people that have tried all sorts of medicine and foods but have been here 2-3 weeks wouldn't be here.

After a bit more extensive research, it looks like our only real alternative, as it seems they don't offer anything else, is the same path Ronnie&Hang went. So, we're going to directly request a bronchoscopy after finishing up our third attempt this morning.

I'm just hoping they can get a sufficient sample of sputum to begin the culture. :(

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The request for a bronchoscopy was a bust. They refuse to use that method until after several weeks where the normal method produces no results. It doesn't matter that we're unable to stay in HCMC for an extended period due to how expensive it is here.

We weren't the only ones to make this request either apparently. It seems we're going to be forced to continue attempting to do this for weeks wasting a lot of time with no results before they'll finally allow us an alternative. I really wish there was another way...

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I had read that having her consume alot of dairy (drink milk) the night before has helped in the past...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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As I've mentioned in previous posts, we're gearing up for our interview coming up on the 28th. We've now been staying in HCMC about a week, and Linh's medical exam was scheduled on the 20th (Vaccinations on 19th). The medical exam was scheduled at Cho Ray. I had reservations about it since it was notorious for bribery, unprofessional staff, and uncleanliness. But, Linh was more comfortable going there, and since she's the one going through the exam and not me, I went along with it.

I was actually surprised because it seemed, at the very least, the visa department seems very professional, the staff polite, and from my wife's accounts were quite clean and didn't seem to accept/allow "coffee money" anymore. I was ready to give full approval of Cho Ray on here since afterwards I also read that the staff in the visa department are actually trained by iom. This all changed when they told us Linh needed a Sputum Culture since she'd had TB four years ago, and they wanted to be certain it wasn't active (as far as I can tell it wasn't since I've been living with her over 2 years now, I didn't catch it and no one in her family has it).

The reason I say it all changed is because the procedure and area for the Sputum Culture (directly outside the visa department) is a complete nightmare. Not only is the staff unprofessional and rude, but the method for extracting sputum is absolutely unclean. They have the "potentially" infected people sit together, UNMASK, inhale/exhale deeply, and cough into a small container to produce sputum. Cough right beside each other in a small general area where the uninfected can be infected.

The problem we have isn't so much this, though it scares us, but Linh hasn't been able to produce a sufficient sample of Sputum to satisfy the nurses/doctors. She's followed the suggestions accordingly. We get up at 5:30am to get to the hospital around 6:00am (they start calling people at 6:30 though she usually isn't called until 7:10). She drinks a ton of water the night before, doesn't brush/rinse/eat/drink in the morning before the sample is taken as instructed. We've even had to resort to buying acetylcysteine a mucolytic agent to make it easier for her to cough up sputum. The medicine doesn't help and no matter what she tries she's unable to produce very much sputum. What really scares us is that she's spoken to people in there who've been at this for 2-3 weeks and more because they are unable to produce enough sputum for them to begin testing.

We're resolved to the extra two+ months it takes to get the results for this sputum culture, but we can't even get to the part where they even begin testing. I've read about other methods of getting the sputum including having a tube go into your stomach to get at the sputum over the course of three days, there's also a salt-water mist using a nebulizer to inhale for about 20 minutes that produces enough sputum to only require 1 day. I really prefer this second nebulizer method, but I don't even know if Cho Ray offers it as an option.

Tomorrow will be our third trip to Cho Ray (two days with no results so far), after this third attempt at producing sputum we'll likely walk back into the medical exam area and try to request an alternative method to produce sputum. Continuing like this with no results just isn't an option.

Does anyone have any suggestions/advice? Anything would be greatly appreciated! :crying:

maybe smoke a cigarette?

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I had read that having her consume alot of dairy (drink milk) the night before has helped in the past...

Unfortunately, I've read the opposite. It actually only calcifies the mucus in your throat making it thicker and seemingly like you're producing more.

maybe smoke a cigarette?

As funny as it sounds, it's actually a reason why most of the men going in are able to produce sputum/phlegm immediately.

After weighing our options, it seem the only real thing we can do is continue attempting to go in and try to cough it out however long it takes. Unless we produce results, they'll eventually deem it necessary to proceed with a bronchoscopy. We're going to try drinking even more water right before going to bed since each day Linh has managed to produce slightly more sputum than the last day.

Tomorrow is our interview date, but we still also need to go in to try and produce sputum. Luckily, they are allowing people with interviews to go in first at 6:30am. We'll likely be done around 7:00am, and we'll head directly to the embassy. We'll likely get there around 7:30am. For now, we can only worry about one thing at a time. Wish us Luck! We haven't really had much :(

Edited by Pohtaytoh

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Good luck to you both..hang in there and don't let it drag you down..you will be fine.

They had my wife tried the cough for at least 3 weeks before they offered the alternative collection procedure. It's just how ChoRay works..

Edited by Ronnie&Hang

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bumping this thread to ask does this "sputum culture" thing happen more at cho ray than IOM? when we had our vaccinations we talked to another lady that was going through the same k-1/cr-1 process. she called me after the interview to say she also got blue because she said cho ray requested "SC" from her also and the process would take 2-3 months.

i know it's a very small sample size but it seems more of these pop up at cho ray? am i totally wrong in my thinking or IOM is easier? i know "ho lao" is more prevalent in vietnam so it could just be totally random whether you're getting your medical at IOM or CR.


K-1, CRBA, AOS, GC

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bumping this thread to ask does this "sputum culture" thing happen more at cho ray than IOM? when we had our vaccinations we talked to another lady that was going through the same k-1/cr-1 process. she called me after the interview to say she also got blue because she said cho ray requested "SC" from her also and the process would take 2-3 months.

i know it's a very small sample size but it seems more of these pop up at cho ray? am i totally wrong in my thinking or IOM is easier? i know "ho lao" is more prevalent in vietnam so it could just be totally random whether you're getting your medical at IOM or CR.

Not sure if one is easier than the other; but as far as the sputum culture goes I think its mainly based on the chest x-ray results. If they see evidence of scarring or previous tb they will ask for the sputum culture. The tb bacteria grow slowly, so it takes a couple months to determine if the tb is active.


May 29, 09, had attorney send I-129F to USCIS

June 3, 09, USCIS received I-129F

June 4, 09, USCIS I-797C, 1st NOA notice date.

Aug 28, 09, USCIS sends I-797E NOA. RFE requesting further evidence we have met within 2 years prior

Sept 3, 09, I sent updated RFE info to USCIS

Sept 8, 09 USCIS receives my info

Sept 11, 09 USCIS sends I-797C NOA--I-129F Petition approved, also forwards petition to NVC

Sept 23, 09 NVC receives approved I-129F from USCIS also forwards petition to consulate in HCMC

Dec 4, 09 Interview at HCMC Consulate, Blue slip, timeline, ex's address, medical results from Cho Ray

Jan 4, 10 Turned in timeline, ex,s address. White slip, 221(g) for lack of medical results. AP pending results.

Jan 4, 10 Cho Ray diagnosis--class A active multi drug resistant tb. Treatment time 18 to 24 months.

Jan 6, 10 I email consulate re: what do we do next, since K1 expires Jan 10, 10.

Jan 13, 10 Consulate replies--They have received all requested documents and the case is pending a CO review

Since the case is pending due to treatment of tb, the case is still active until treat-

ment is complete provided we contact the consulate every 6 months and notify

them she is under treatment to keep the file in open status.

Jan 14, 10 to July 2012 we wait.

July 2012, visa issued.

Aug 2012, Marriage in US.

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Not sure if one is easier than the other; but as far as the sputum culture goes I think its mainly based on the chest x-ray results. If they see evidence of scarring or previous tb they will ask for the sputum culture. The tb bacteria grow slowly, so it takes a couple months to determine if the tb is active.

How is Nicole doin?


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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How is Nicole doin?

Doing well. Had a problem with liver failure due to PTH last Nov. and they had to stop treatment for about a month. Went back on the cocktail without the PTH and has had negative sputum results since. Still getting injections 3x weekly and taking 14 pills a day. But making progress. With any luck we may be done with treatment next March but more likely July of 2012. Thanks for asking. Been a while since I've been on. Have some info to post. At work now got to go.


May 29, 09, had attorney send I-129F to USCIS

June 3, 09, USCIS received I-129F

June 4, 09, USCIS I-797C, 1st NOA notice date.

Aug 28, 09, USCIS sends I-797E NOA. RFE requesting further evidence we have met within 2 years prior

Sept 3, 09, I sent updated RFE info to USCIS

Sept 8, 09 USCIS receives my info

Sept 11, 09 USCIS sends I-797C NOA--I-129F Petition approved, also forwards petition to NVC

Sept 23, 09 NVC receives approved I-129F from USCIS also forwards petition to consulate in HCMC

Dec 4, 09 Interview at HCMC Consulate, Blue slip, timeline, ex's address, medical results from Cho Ray

Jan 4, 10 Turned in timeline, ex,s address. White slip, 221(g) for lack of medical results. AP pending results.

Jan 4, 10 Cho Ray diagnosis--class A active multi drug resistant tb. Treatment time 18 to 24 months.

Jan 6, 10 I email consulate re: what do we do next, since K1 expires Jan 10, 10.

Jan 13, 10 Consulate replies--They have received all requested documents and the case is pending a CO review

Since the case is pending due to treatment of tb, the case is still active until treat-

ment is complete provided we contact the consulate every 6 months and notify

them she is under treatment to keep the file in open status.

Jan 14, 10 to July 2012 we wait.

July 2012, visa issued.

Aug 2012, Marriage in US.

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