I would still be teaching today if my health would have permitted. I was a bit of a nerd, so I would often attend classes after work just because I loved to take these classes.
You shouldn't need to actually build the lab to verify that it does indeed work. Finally, if you can't get a job in a lab, and you can't afford college tuition, then you still have the option of visiting a lab to take a tour of it. I'd be interested in hearing what sort of science you do. All of my scientific work was done in industry in R&D.
I've lost my ability to do fancy mathematics anymore too. And that's a shame too because I used to love to solve differential equations almost like a game just for entertainment. Losing one's mind is a terrible thing to experience.
I look at equations I used to be able to solve in my head and now I can't even figure out how to start to solve them on paper.
My last commercial job was working for a company that built radiology equipment for hospitals. Again, working in R&D in electronics and programming these machines. The last five years of my working life I taught college physics and mathematics. Friends who are still living live far away from me and we seldom meet in person anymore. ~~~~ I just want to add here also that during my entire career life I continued to attend college classes.
I was then forced to retire due to health problems. Often times these were actually offered right in the research labs.