The way I understand it, it simply means that when they took a tiny bit of sputum and put it on a slide, they happened to see and AFB cell(s) this time. Last time, when they took sputum and put it on a slide, they did not see an AFB cell. It simply could be the luck of the draw. I had smears that they had done at the same time in the beginning when they were trying to diagnose me. Two slides were negative and one was positive.
Then they take the sputum and culture it for up to 8 weeks. This will usually tell you if the MAC is still present. Has your Mom got this culture back yet? Does she have a dry cough or a wet cough?
I have a dry cough. My sputums don’t grow anything because I cannot cough up a good sputum. So, even a sputum is not always full proof. I get an induced sputum…and that will usually work. Well, actually I did one about 4 weeks ago. So, we shall see.
I hope I haven’t confused the situation more.