Estefani was silent as she laid down on the surgery table.
She was still wearing her street clothes and shoes: white sandals decorated with rhinestones and metal studs.
Estefani had a lump in her cheek that doctors thought was likely a benign growth, and they planned to take it out that afternoon. She didn't cry as doctors stuck her with needles. She didn't say anything when they put an oxygen mask over her mouth and nose.
From another room, a toddler wailed in pain from the operation he had just woken up from.
Estefani was the fourth oral surgery that the volunteer medical staff from Hearts in Motion performed Sunday, the first of five days this week that the crew will work. Most of the surgeries will be correcting clef palates on children.
In the operating room, Estefani was put under anesthesia and a blue surgery blanket was draped over her body. She was completely covered except for her rhinestone sandals.
Before her surgery, Estefani sat outside in the hospital courtyard with
her mother and the rest of the soon-to-patients and their families. It
was almost 90 degrees, and Estefani had not been allowed to eat or drink
for at least six hours.
As the surgeons began cutting her cheek in the operating room, Estefani's mother sat outside, anxiously glancing at each person in scrubs who walked in and out of the hospital doors.
"May God protect her," she said.
Around her, the children in the courtyard colored, played with a beach
ball and blew bubbles while they waited for their own surgeries or their siblings'.
Estefani was one of the 30 surgeries the volunteer medical crew will complete this week. Most of the Guatemalan families travel hours to get a consultation to see if their family member qualified for a free surgery. The ones that did qualify were given a surgery date and told to show up at 8 a.m.
When Estefani's surgery was finished, her face swollen and covered in dried blood. Her shoes, however, were perfect.