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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a deaf woman who was raised by a woman who made sure I had speech therapy most of my life. Because of it, my speech is quite good, and people often forget that I am deaf or don't believe me.

I was pulled over by a cop, and when I told him I was deaf and needed to read his lips, he didn't believe me. Friends and co-workers have even told me, "With speech like yours, you can't be THAT deaf!" It is frustrating and sometimes hurtful.

The truth is I cannot hear, and I need people to look at me so I can read their lips. Any suggestions on how to kindly remind people -- including law enforcement officers -- that I really am deaf? -- READ MY LIPS IN D.C.

DEAR READ MY LIPS: You should request from your physician a card explaining your hearing disability, and carry it in your wallet in case you are stopped again by law enforcement. You can also use it if there are any more misunderstandings in the workplace.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 46-year-old woman with two grown children. My daughter, "Summer," is abusive. Her husband, "Craig," laughs it off and calls it "just being Summer," but I don't find it funny. My health isn't 100 percent, and sometimes I need help.

I live in Nebraska, and Summer lives in Illinois. When she and Craig fight, she comes to stay with me and my husband. I had foot surgery last year. The last time Summer was here, we had an argument and she stomped on my feet until they bled. I was so badly injured I had to go to the ER for treatment.

Summer is now angry because I changed my will and made my best friend the executor. It has always been understood that if I got sick, Summer would take care of me because I don't want to go to a nursing home. But I'd rather risk being abused by a stranger than my daughter, and my son lives too far away to help.

Am I right about this? My husband doesn't like it. During the four years we've been together, he hasn't shown me he loves me enough to follow my wishes regarding being sick or dying. I'm not scared, but I need to know that what I want is what I'll get. Your thoughts, please? -- MIND OF MY OWN

DEAR MIND OF MY OWN: Your daughter appears to be seriously disturbed. Because she has a history of violence, she should not stay in your home, nor should you be alone with her. I can only hope that after she assaulted you, the incident was reported to the police. Under no circumstances should she be your caregiver.

You have options besides going to a nursing home. One would be to hire a home health-care worker in the event you become unable to help yourself. You should also consult a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts to ensure that a person you can trust has your power of attorney for health-care decisions and will, if necessary, fight like a tiger for you to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Because your marriage is recent, you may also want to ensure that any property that's in your name is handled according to your wishes. Do not wait to do this. It will give you peace of mind.

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