The Worst Thing I’ve Done For $$

I’m not alone in my crappy job history – I asked for contributions and I got inundated with responses, like:

  • Pulling weeds in an oil refinery
  • Selling acid tabs to fund running away from home
  • Lots of telemarketing jobs
  • Credit card collecting
  • Playing a gorilla in a children’s opera
  • Working at McDonald’s and going home smelling like McNuggets

Pretty much everyone has to do crappy jobs at some point in their life; teenagers and college students have to take what they can get and it’s true… it’s character building! My teenage brother just started his first job in a kebab shop and he’s thrilled to be earning money for the first time!

But sometimes you’re not a kid anymore and you do something that makes you feel like shit:

Cat shit

I know what it’s like to need the money desperately, and one experience stands out as the worst possible thing I’ve ever done for money and I was old enough to know better.

Participating in a paid medical experiment

Medical experiment

I was studying in London and needing a couple of thousand for my tuition, so I thought it would be easy money. For four weekends in a row, Thursday to Sunday I was locked inside a hospital with a hundred other “patients” all testing various drugs.

My group of women were testing a new morphine based drug and other groups were testing anything from Parkinson’s disease drugs to the effects alcohol had on different medications (they had to drink shots of vodka between doses).

At first it wasn’t so bad, I lay back in my hospital bed and read a couple of books thinking it was the easiest gig in the world. Being paid to read! Sometimes we were allowed to watch movies, play pool and mingle with the other groups.

After the second weekend, the bad reactions started to set in around me. Not for me, I was kinda enjoying being high on morphine and taking the tests every four hours (computer games and mood checklists).

The third weekend, things got kinda funky. One of the girls got itchy all over and another was having hallucinations, thinking the nurses were trying to poison her. I started getting sick. 

The low point was trying to hold back my vomit because I thought they would kick me off if I got sick. I was willing myself not to spew because I needed the money to pay my tuition. The nurse took away my vomit to be analysed and I was informed I wouldn’t be continuing to the next weekend. (The happy ending is that I got paid the entire amount!).


It’s all fun and games until…

Now, this might seem like a funny story and believe me, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from it, but a few weeks later someone died in a medical experiment and other people in their group had their fingers and toes amputated from the reaction.

A few months after my medical experiment, I contracted pneumonia and I was hospitalised for two weeks. When I told the doctor my medical history and about the experiment, he looked hard at me and said “Why? Why would you do that?”

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