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DiMaggio Feels Ready To Go Home

December 3, 1998

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) _ Joe DiMaggio drew a smile from one of his doctors today with a feisty request.

``I want to get the hell out of here and go home,″ the 84-year-old Hall of Famer said after his doctor temporarily adjusted the breathing tube in his throat.

Those were the first words DiMaggio had been able to speak since last weekend, when he had another setback in his recovery from lung cancer surgery.

DiMaggio continued to show improvement from his latest lung infection, which developed Friday, according to Dr. Earl Barron, a cardiologist who heads a team of doctors treating the former New York Yankees center fielder.

``Thing are looking up today, but who knows what will happen tomorrow,″ Barron told The Associated Press, adding that DiMaggio had no fever and his white blood cell count was normal.

DiMaggio, unable to speak because of the tube in his trachea, had been indicating with hand gestures for days that he wanted to talk, Barron said.

The doctor agreed, and had the tube capped temporarily, allowing DiMaggio to make his comment.

A cancerous tumor was removed from DiMaggio’s right lung on Oct. 14 two days after he entered Memorial Regional Hospital. A series of setbacks have kept him in the intensive care unit since.

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